Inside MAI Blog: Thoughts on global publishing

Watching Lawrence in Action

I love watching Lawrence Darmani in action as an MAI trainer.  Yesterday the irrepressible Ghanaian author and publisher led two large-group sessions at the writer workshop underway in South Africa, organized by the A Rocha organization with support from MAI.

In the first, “Writing from a Christian Worldview,” Lawrence asked the 25 participants to pen their writing mission and vision statements.   First, he shared his own:  "To make time and write, effectively and purposefully, every writing opportunity the Lord brings my way and to not be hindered by setbacks.”

Lawrence makes time by rising in the pre-dawn hours to write.  It’s not easy, especially in the cooler winter months when the covers beg him to stay longer in bed.  His labors have most recently resulted in a five-volume fiction series, and now he’s about to write a sequel to his award winning novel, Grief Child. 

Lest he ever be tempted by pride in his skills and achievements, Lawrence told the group that he always remembers the advice of former writing professor David C. McCasland, “God does not want a ready pen and a withered spirit.” 

In his second session, “First Steps in Writing a Book,” Lawrence challenged participants to have big dreams for their writing.  He, for instance, would love to see Ophrah Winfrey promote Grief Child through her book club and introduce the book to her millions of followers.  “Why not?” Lawrence said. 

In this group of 14 female and 11 male writers, we have 6 who chose the “fiction track.”  Lawrence is shepherding this group as well.  Yesterday Joan, Liz, Kelly, Alan, Simmy and Karen conceived ideas for a short story that communicates hope.  (The theme of this workshop is “Journeys in Restoration, Reconciliation, Transformation and Hope.”) 

One by one, the writers shared their story ideas within the group.  In response, Lawrence prodded, cajoled, challenged, and applauded the initial thinking and work of the writers.  He is the kind of trainer who draws the best from writers and gets them to work extremely hard without their feeling badgered or “preached at.”  

Before this workshop ends on Wednesday, March 21, each will have finished the first draft of a short story.  Maybe the final, polished stories will be published in a short anthology.  Published work by South African Christian writers is the goal of this workshop, and Lawrence and the other trainers are working to see it happen.

Photo above: Trainer Lawrence Darmani offers feedback to writer Joan Campbell of South Africa

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