I have lost count of how many professional seminars and trainings I have sat through in my adult life. This year I set a goal to attend a writers conference. I declared that intention out loud to my Masterminds group October 2017.
Then the day before I would be on the Masterminds “hot seat” again May 7, 2018 I knew it was time to report on my goals. Eek! I had the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference (#BRMCWC) on my calendar over nine months. How could I go to my accountability group with anything less than a booked reservation? I checked and there was still room. I reserved my spot 14 days before the BRMCWC.
The first night at dinner I carried my food tray through the cafeteria asking God to lead the way. I knew no one. I fought back nerves and slight loneliness. A group of wonderful ladies welcomed me to sit at their table. Whew! I felt relief. And go figure, one of the first people I met, Lilly, was from Alamogordo, NM. That is the same town where my adult son lives. She came a long way to Black Mountain, NC. I found comfort in her presence.
The next person I met said she was returning after this conference crushed her dreams four years ago. She described running away in tears last time. Alrighty then. I whispered to God, I’m a big girl, but You’ve got this right?
From that moment forward, I enjoyed meeting a new-to-me world of people:
Professionals. Literary agents, publishers, promoters, and editors really do exist. I studied in college and since have read hundreds of articles and books about them. I’ve written query letters to them. I’ve received rejection letters from them. They are real people flesh and all. I met with eight professionals in publishing over the course of the week. I appreciate their wisdom.
Inspirational Folks. A couple times each day attendees gathered to listen to keynote speakers. I leaned in to hear what they said and made notes to bottle their encouragement so that I can revisit their words. I value the paths they’ve forged.
New Friends. It was fun to listen to other writers talk about their work and lives! We celebrated one another and exchanged contact information. I am still in touch with several authors and it is wonderful to feel part of the writing world! Take Kelly A. Wypych, for example. Kelly ran 100 miles consecutively in April. 100 miles! Her blog is great and her Instagram posts @kawypych sing to my soul. Here’s a pic of Kelly and me at our first writers conference together:
You. You know how you can’t really see yourself, but you walk around in the body that is “you”? Yeah, that’s a weird thought, but sometimes I suspect we disconnect from the most authentic “you” there is. We spend each day with eyes that see outward but can’t see our 360-degree self easily. When I walked by mirrors or spoke into mirrors to prepare for my book pitches I felt like I was meeting myself for the first time.
Hello, You. Hello, Writer.
Oh, you’ve been a writer at heart since 4th grade?
How interesting. Nice to meet You.
It was good to spend some time with the you that is me. I think part of personal growth involves getting to know ourselves better.
I give thanks to God for all the people at BRMCWC and for all that I learned. I thank Him for leading my path. It was a wonderful experience.
Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.