The Right Writers Conference

childrenpolaroidI was a daydreamer as a child. Actually, I haven’t changed that much–I’m still a daydreamer. My childhood wasn’t always easy, so I tended to find a happier place and hang out there. The place I found was usually in my head and possibly connected to the latest book I’d read, or something I’d watched on television.

As a stay-at-home mom raising three young boys, I found another reason to retreat to the happy place. I began to write stories. At first, it was a hobby. Then, as I wrote more and more, it began to be something else.  A calling. And I knew, even if no one ever read anything I wrote, I’d still write.

But others did read my stories. I entertained family and friends. They were impressed and encouraged me to pursue my interest. I took a writing class at the local college, and the professor encouraged me to keep writing.

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Jennifer Hallmark and me at the Atlanta Christian Writers Conference

This past week, I attended a writer’s conference. I sat in classrooms with accomplished writers and writers on the way. Men and women who’d found their calling, their niche, shared what they had learned along that way. I soaked it in and used my pen for the first time in a long time, taking copious notes. Because what they’d found, I wanted.

Many professionals must continue to educate themselves in order to compete in their field. Writers are no different and conferences–good conferences–provide those opportunities.

Possibly even greater than the knowledge we receive at writers’ conferences, are the connections we make. There’s nothing like face-to-face discussions with friends we’ve made on Facebook and Twitter, or sitting down with someone who looks familiar, only to find they’re a multi-published, award-winning author. Gee, she seemed so normal.

I’d like to finish with this thought, shared with me by a new friend:

What I think is so great about these conferences is–how giving these authors are–they all want you to succeed, as they have.

And here’s why they’re so ready to share their hard-earned secrets — at some point, someone did the same for them.

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