The journey begins

The 3 day literary marathon is on!
Contrary to the single summary I posted on the Lancaster Christian Writers’ conference, I thought I’d “take you along for the ride” via a short blog post in which I capture the main action of each day.

Ready? Let’s go!

5:30 a.m. I wake up after snatching about 3 hours of sleep. Tired? Absolutely! But it’s okay; that’s what coffee is for.

One problem. Caffeine intensifies dizziness in high altitudes so… no Lavazza for me today. Or for the next three days in fact.

After a flurry of activity, I’m on board the train toward the airport. En route, I catch another train then–heart pounding–I arrive at my gate just as the call to board is made.

JP Robinson drafts his next novel, a young adult thriller while en route to teach a writing workshop at the Colorado Christian Writers conference
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The plane is crowded and, with 2 bags in tow, I’m sure I earned a few mean looks. But the time in flight is well-spent. By the time we touch down in Denver, I’ve completed a two page summary of my first Young Adult novel which I can’t wait to begin writing!

Our diligent conference coordinator, Marlene Bagnull, is well-organized and a ride to pick myself and another passenger, Jim Hart from Hartline Agency, arrives in short order. I’m blessed to engage in meaningful conversation with Jim during the 90 minute drive through Colorado’s breathtaking vistas.

Gorgeous mountain scenery in Estes Park Colorado

Around 6 pm, my coffee-less day is catching up with me. I have been going for 14 hours, and I’m grateful to slip into my room where I catch my breath at the view. It inspires me to pray and to write.

Tomorrow officially begins day 1 of this literary marathon. Join me in praying that it will lead me to good roads hitherto unexplored.

JP Robinson

When you think of something heroic, a pencil is probably the last thing that would come to mind. True?

Same here.

But as I was trying to find an appropriate metaphor for a youth service that I’m teaching tomorrow evening, I realized that I had undervalued our standard 7.5 inch (19cm) combination of wood and graphite. Like most of us, there’s more to the pencil than meets the eye.

1. It was designed for a specific purpose.

The Bible shows us that our lives are no accident. Each of us comes to this world with a specific part of God’s plan that only we can fulfill. It’s up to us to find that purpose and accomplish it.

2. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

The true quality of a pencil isn’t how beautiful it is on the outside—what matters is that bit of graphite on the inside. Without it, you can’t make a mark on the world or achieve the purpose for which you were born.

Without the Spirit of God in our hearts, it’s impossible to achieve our true purpose. Jesus Christ taught that what’s in the heart determines what comes out of our lives. Our world sees the outward—sex appeal, careers and wealth—as indications of success but the pencil begs to differ.

3. It must be shaved down to make a mark on the world

Imagine you were a pencil, thrust between sharp blades that cut into your flesh. Sounds painful, right?

But that’s the only way the pencil can make a difference. Without the cutting, shaping and molding, it’s unable to write a thing. The same can be said of our lives. Christ molds, shapes and cuts us to His will in order to bring us to the place that our life’s story can make a “mark” on someone else.


But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8 ESV

It’s easy to become discouraged, or even rebel, when life’s circumstances cut into our very soul. We’ve been conditioned to think of God as the author of good things—which He is—but we tend to forget that He’s also a teacher who corrects, inspires and challenges us by giving us hard problems to face. Only when we see God for who He is, can we truly understand who He wants us to become.

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JP Robinson

This weekend, I was privileged to teach two workshops at the Lancaster Christian Writer’s Super Saturday event. With great food, fellowship (did I mention awesome Colombian coffee?), it was a day to remember.

First, a big shout-out to Jeanette Windle, LCW President, who did a terrific job hosting the event.

JP Robinson, Brian and Ronie Kendig at 2019 LCW conference (from left to right).

Second, it was a real thrill to interact with Brian and Ronie Kendig, bestselling author of multiple “rapid-fire fiction” novels. I left inspired to draft the first book in my upcoming political thriller series set in the Middle East. Stay tuned…

Finally, I heard a lot of positive feedback from my workshop attendees. Comments like, ” JP, thank YOU for sharing great info about marketing! ” and “You’re teaching things that I need to know,” really made me feel that my time was well spent.

For those of you that didn’t get to sign up for the my author-only email list, join by clicking on this link.

Several attendees were gracious enough to send me pictures of the event. Thanks all!

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

-Jesus Christ

Rest has been a key part of God’s plan. In Genesis, God rested. In Exodus, He told the Jewish people to observe the 7th day as Sabbath (rest). But His plan went still further as He unveiled a spiritual “rest” through the Holy Spirit that was incarnated in Jesus Christ.

Spirit-filled Christians don’t need to fear the terror, political confusion and religious noise that seems to get louder each day. We don’t need to fear the power of sin or worry about whether we’ll go to heaven or not when this life is over.

Our lives are in the hands of a perfect, omnipotent God and, no matter what each day brings, we are at rest, knowing that He is STILL in control.

I love that!

JP Robinson