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Back in October 2015, I drove 45 minutes from home and pulled my car into an almost full parking lot. I found an empty space, parked my car, and nervously gathered up the bags I had packed with notebooks and pens.
I took a deep breath, stepped out of the car, and walked into my first ever writing conference.
What was I doing? I didn’t even have the guts to call myself a writer.
Thankfully, I recognized one face in the midst of the sea of people. Our eyes met, we both smiled, and I made my way toward the comfort of familiarity. We made casual conversation until it was time for the first session. After that, I was on my own.
By the time the weekend was over, I no longer felt so alone. Instead, I felt I had a place to belong. A place where all my doubts, questions, and desires to grow could be embraced and nurtured.
I met people who were in the same stage as me, and people who had been in the game for years and years. But no matter how accomplished they were (or weren’t) by worldly standards, they all had commonalities. They were all kind. They were all welcoming. They all loved to celebrate the art and practice of writing. And they all desired to support, inspire, and encourage one another.
What a blessing to find so many likeminded people in one place.
Unfortunately the conference only happens once a year, but I haven’t missed it since 2015. In fact, I’m getting ready to go back in just 10 days, and I’m so looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for this year.
What about you?
Have you ever had an opportunity to gather with other writers? It doesn’t have to be a conference — even coffee counts.
What was it like? What did you love most about your gathering?
I encourage you to take time at least a few times a year to intentionally gather with other writers. It might have to be online if you don’t live near other writers or don’t know of any other writers in your area. But if you meet online, use a video meeting program like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom so it seems more personal than just words on a screen. Make the most of today’s technology to find the support and encouragement you need.