Die on Every Hill: Reflections on the Maranatha Conference

By Hope Bolinger a professional writing student at Taylor University

One season of cross country taught me that you cannot die on every hill during a 5K race. Because in the miserable state of Ohio, every race sported at least five large mounds. Some shot up at a straight 90-degree angle, where runners had to clasp roots and clods of mud simply to prevent from sliding down the slope.

One weekend at the Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference strained me more than any cross-country race. Several “hills” emerged.hillrunning

Hill One: A Mock Pub Board session where we learned just how many people an author has to pitch a book to in a publishing agency. The Vice President of Marketing, Retail, the Acquisitions Editor, just to name a few. The example used for the pub board, a nonfiction piece, apparently had a decent platform, with contacts such as Dr. Oz. Still, the book just barely passed the approval of all the members. What about a nobody like me? I wondered. Will I ever trudge up this hill?

Hill Two: A thought-provoking keynote provided by Ed Jones from Lighthouse Publishing indicated there was a shrinking market for Christian fiction. Numbers of decreasing sales littered the bright PowerPoint. As a Christian fiction author, I speculated if I could interest anyone at the conference with my proposal.

Hill Three: One-on-one meetings with editors. Some deemed my book a “tough sell.” After three or so meetings that followed this vein, I began to grow discouraged.

But then I remembered a keynote speech from Sandra Aldrich, and one line in particular: “Don’t die on every hill.” She went on to encourage writers to keep pushing forward despite obstacles, despite mounds.

Writers run races all the time, and it seems like we live in an everlasting Ohio terrain. Our knees buckle from pure exhaustion on rocky knolls, and we sometimes faceplant in the muddy hill. stairs-1627424_960_720

But we beat on.

We move forward.

Because we have to. Because we need to. Because we are called to.

We will get up that hill through trust, through trudging, and through just one more step. And another. And another.

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