Hello lovely readers!
Happy President’s day! If you have the day off, I hope you are enjoying a well deserved respite. And if you are at work today, thank you for all you do!
I just “returned” from a wonderful weekend full of writerly things. I spent the weekend attending the West Coast Christian Writer’s conference and it was amazing! I’m so excited to put into practice all the things I learned.
The conference was supposed to be in person, but then had to pivot to online due to the pandemic. Initially, this was very disappointing to me. It was supposed to be in San Francisco (I’ve never been there); I wanted to actually meet and connect with other writers (so hard when it’s virtual); I didn’t want to spend my weekend glued to a screen (my eyes are a bit tired). But even though it wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for, God is faithful and He came through in a big way this weekend!
I went into the conference thinking that there was no way that I’d come away with any meaningful connections with other writers. I can be a fairly shy person, and when you put me in a virtual space with over 300 people, many of whom are published authors, I feel downright intimidated. I really wasn’t sure how the hosts would be able to foster any form of personal connection.
To my surprise and delight, I ended up in a breakout room with another writer who writes in similar genres and is also a pastor’s wife. We immediately connected through the Facebook group and are now working together with another writer to form a virtual critique group. I now have new friends from the East Coast and the Midwest, and can’t wait to get to know them better! I’m so glad that God proved me wrong.
There’s so much that I’ve learned and am still learning from this weekend, and if I do my job right, you’ll see evidence of that in the coming weeks and months. Putting it into practice will challenge and stretch me, and I’m here for it.
I want to share one other takeaway from the conference: it was so incredibly uplifting. In this pandemic world we live in, so much feels so heavy or edgy or angry all of the time. It was so amazing to spend my weekend in the company of others who encourage one another and seek to find the light in the midst of darkness. The last session of the conference was highly encouraging, especially in the area of continuing to pursue this writing life.
Part of the conference was a writing contest, and though I didn’t enter, it was so exciting when my new friend Christine was awarded the Best In Conference award. I hadn’t entered the contest for myriad reasons, so it was easy to be happy for those who won awards.
Entering writing contests is a bit unnerving. I’ve entered a couple over the last couple of years, and it’s a quite vulnerable experience. Putting a piece of your writing, a tangible piece of yourself, your heart and mind and feelings, into the hands of another person to judge and critique can be scary. But if you want a shot at winning, you have to go all in. You have to submit your best work, sometimes your most vulnerable work.
It’s so easy to sit on the sidelines and wait for an invitation… But there is also a time for jumping in and finding your place.Rebecca Meek
When we enter into new spaces of life or seek out things that we feel are missing, it’s so easy to sit on the sidelines and wait for an invitation, to let life activities or busy-ness fill our empty spaces, or to sit on the outside looking in, measuring and judging if this is the pool we want to jump into. And there’s definitely a place for that. It’s totally fine to test the waters before opening up your whole self. But there is also a time for jumping in and finding your place.
You have to enter to win.
I felt this a lot as I moved through the virtual conference. I was worried that I wouldn’t make friends and connections, and I wasn’t thrilled about sitting in front of a screen by myself. I could have cheated myself out of a win by backing out. I would have missed out on so much. Instead, I jumped in and came away with new friends, new connections, and new vision for moving forward with whatever this writing life looks like in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.
- Feeling lonely and in need of friends? You have to enter to win.
- Wanting to make a career shift? You have to enter to win.
- Looking for a church home, a place to belong? You have to enter to win.
My prayer for you this week is that you have the courage to enter those spaces that feel vulnerable, that feel like they are missing or lacking. Personally, I’m taking a next step this week and have a meeting with an agent. I’d appreciate your prayers because I’m definitely nervous. If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear about where you’ve decided to jump in. Drop a comment or send me a message. I’m cheering you on!
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