Welcome to the forums! This sounds like the perfect place for you. It's not easy to write anything, but I have learned so much from the sweet souls here who have been willing to help me.Try not to get too discouraged. It takes time, editing, rewrites, more editing, more rewrites.
If you like the site and decide to upgrade to a paid membership, there are even more benefits and opportunities. If you can afford the few dollars a month it is so worth it. We were going to have a conference this summer, but there wasn't enough interest. Hopefully next year!
Check out the free read for review section. In exchange for a free ebook or pdf, the reader agrees to leave a honest review on Amazon and other places the book may be listed. For me, I've learned a lot by reading as much as possible. It helps me learn what I like and what doesn't work for me and then I can apply it to my own writing. Shortly after joining, I decided to challenge myself to read and comment on every challenge entry. It hasn't been easy, but it has made me more aware. I make a point of starting with positive things, then if I have constructive feedback I'll leave that next and then end with positive. It's not always easy, but it's always possible. I've3 learned that I can take things away from a story or article even if I don't agree with the author or it's written in a genre I'm not totally crazy about.
I've been a member for 4 years and I can't tell you all the wonderful things that have happened to me because of this site. I think the biggest blessing is the friends I've made. I didn't think it was possible to have such close friends from all over the world. I talk to many on a regular basis. Next is having my stories published or being ready to publish. I also self-published my first picture book, which because I am a platinum member, the book can be found on the site's store.
FW is an awesome site, but can be a tad overwhelming because it's so big, but here are some tips for you.
People here are of all ages and have experience ranging from virtually none to having published some books. It sounds like this is a perfect fit for you! We also have all kinds of genres. My favorite is children's books, but we have devotions to Biblical fiction to testimonials and how to books to sci-fi and romance.
The biggest draw to FW would be the writing challenge. Since you've entered that already, I won't say much but to encourage you to read as many pieces as possible. Writers often think we have to impress other writers, but the truth is it's all about the reader.
FW is a great place to meet other Christians and writers. I also think it's awesome because there is people with all kinds of experience here from having published book to having never really written much at all. People here are great encouragers and willing to share their knowledge with others. The Open Forum
is a great place to ask questions about writing and publishing.
You also can find a wealth of info and a variety of people on the boards. It's also a great way to make friends. One of, if not the single, best spot for writing tips can be found at Jan's Writing Basics.
It might be a bit overwhelming to post at first, but I'd urge you to bite the bullet and jump in. Jan is wonderful at giving invaluable feedback to everyone who tries her thread and posts their "homework."
Also The Water Cooler
is a great place to meet people. They have topics that range from regional areas to just popping in to say hi. Another great place to go is Prayer Requests.
It's wonderful to be able to request prayer and to lift others up in need.
Fw is much like a family. There is something for everyone. The people encourage, support, and love each other. Welcome to the family!
I hope I gave you some places to start. The site is huge and there are so many wonderful things here. You may want to check out the FAQ
thread as that may answer many of your questions.
Have fun exploring, jump into conversations and don't be afraid to ask any questions. :welc