Writer Spotlight: Crystal McDowell

Crystal-McDowell_IMG_4505-2-458x458For the next two weeks, we will be featuring some of the speakers and panelists of the upcoming UMI Christian Writers Conference that will be held on Friday, April 22-23. First up is a brief Q&A with Author, Editor and Blogger Crystal McDowell who will be speaking on “Writing Great Devotionals.” Find out more about Crystal and her journey to become a successful writer below:

When did you discover that you had a passion for writing?

I discovered my passion at a writers conference in 1999. I didn’t have a full understanding of the reason that I was there–but I knew that God was leading me in that direction. One evening at the conference, I called my husband and said, “I’ve found my people!” There was a common bond of exploration and discovery of God’s deeply embedded gifts within us that drew us together. From that very first conference, I landed writing Sunday School lessons leading to bigger writing projects. Bottom line…I never lost that feeling of “I can’t believe I’m getting paid for what I love to do!”

Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?

I see potential in writing both–however, in this season of my life writing Christian nonfiction is my strongest impact. I haven’t read as much fiction as I used to, but I’m beginning to explore it more. I believe that a writer’s greatest influence lies in what we are reading–it will be reflected in our work

What are you looking forward to most about the UMI Christian Writers Conference?

Jesus said, “It’s better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). I’m looking forward to encouraging other people to follow their dreams in the same way I was strengthened and encouraged to move towards my destiny. There’s something about strengthening others that gives me the fuel to continue to stretch myself as well.

With so many other genres and styles of writing, how did you make the decision to pursue a career in Christian writing and publishing?

I’m open to all genres and styles of writing that give opportunities to shine the Good News of Jesus Christ. I don’t know if I chose Christian writing and publishing–or if it chose me. The gift of creative writing in the Christian field is wide open right now for those who are willing to take the first steps of faith. As believers, our light is to shine wherever we go to whomever partakes of our writing.

Do you have one piece of advice that you’d like to share with someone who is interested in pursuing a career in writing?

The best advice given to me was from a professor at graduate school: practice your A-B-Cs which means Apply the Behind to Chair! Writing is something I do whether I feel like it or not. Alex Haley’s advice also rings in my head when he said, “Your attitude is everything. Believe in yourself and trust your material. To be a successful writer, write every single day whether you feel like it or not…”


For more details about the UMI Christian Writers Conference, including registration, visit here.