Home again. I feel relief flood through me as I pull into my driveway. Home safe, after driving for an hour in high-speed traffic, negotiating southern California freeways.
Last week I attended the first ever SoCal Christian Writer’s Conference held on the beautiful campus of Biola University in LaMirada, CA. I’d never been to LaMirada, never been to Biola, and of course, since this was the very first annual SoCalCWC, I’d never been to it either. A big bundle of firsts!
There is always trepidation as I anticipate travel to a new location, meeting new people, and the need for pushing myself out of my introvert’s alone-place of comfort and security.
Thank goodness for a user-friendly GPS to find my way to Biola in LaMirada. Thank the Lord for his presence with me (even introverts don’t like being absolutely alone), and his grace to help me move out of my shy self to meet new people and even make new friends.
But why would I put myself through these challenges, three times now, to attend Christian writer’s conferences? Because I have learned that I need these events. Each time I’ve attended a Christian writer’s conference my expectations have been met on two levels:
The anticipated—the things I figured I’d take away—learning new information, gaining tools of the craft, and receiving encouragement. Experts in the fields of writing, publishing and marketing spoke in general sessions, classes, workshops, and one-on-one appointment times.
The unanticipated—the surprises—one time a challenge to create a different book title (that’s why I have the hope-filled Brokenness to Beauty book title, the biggest take-away from my second conference), and most special of all, making new friends.
One of the most important aspects of a writer’s conference is simply being around other writers who are passionate about their writing and getting it out there for others to read. Their enthusiasm is almost infectious. It gave me a boost I sorely needed. Writers need other writers and where best to find them than at a writer’s conference.
A significant factor of a Christian writer’s conference is that the people involved are also passionate about Jesus Christ and his kingdom. This creates added impetus to get our words, the message God has laid on our hearts, into the hands of our readers.
The SoCalCWC met and exceeded all my expectations, both the anticipated and unanticipated! I’m glad I gathered up my courage, braving freeways and meeting new people, to attend. Kudos to director Kathy Ide and all who contributed to make a great conference.