I’ve had a difficult time admitting out loud that I’m a writer. When people ask about my writing I’ll make statements like:
“I like to write.”
“I do a little writing on the side.”
“I have a blog and I regularly contribute to a couple other web sites.”
All of those statements are true. But saying, “I am a writer,” seems to carry a certain set of expectations, like how much you’ve written and if you get paid to write and if there’s anything with actual ink that you can hold in your hands.
But after attending the Breathe Writer’s Conference this past weekend, I have the confidence to say, “Yes, I am a writer.”
Breathe was one of those rare experiences where I knew from the minute I walked through the front door that I was welcome and loved. The first things I noticed were the mirrors on the tables with a note attached to each one that read:
“Look in the mirror and you will see a writer.”
The purpose of the conference was to encourage us to believe in our gift, to realize that writing is a high and worthy calling, and to equip us to go forth and do our very best for God’s purposes. It didn’t matter if you had written a dozen books or no books, a hundred articles or nothing other than journal entries in a notebook, you walked out knowing, “I am a writer.”
Here’s a few highlights from the conference:
Meeting Anne Byle, and realizing that I knew her Dad! Her class on the writing life was incredibly practical and encouraging. She urged us to identify our fears and our dreams and then set goals. She also encouraged us to set aside time, build relationships and to not be afraid to try new things!
Sitting in on a couple of Latayne Scott’s classes. She has an incredible story which includes her previous life in the Mormon church, and an amazing gift with words. God used her class on the spiritual care of the writer to change my every day life and give me a visual to wrap my mind around connecting the seen world we live in to the unseen world God exists in. On my list to read are three of her books The Mormon Mirage, her fiction book also about the Mormon life, Latter Day Cipher, and The Hinge of Your History: The Phases of Faith.
Meeting Alison Hodges and having an encouraging one-on-one conversation with her. I can’t wait to start reading her blog every day. She’s incredibly gifted and humorous.
Listening to Caryn Rivadeneira’s keynote talks about the three musts of a writer and the joy of writing in community. I picked up her two books Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. and Grumble Hallelujah and am looking forward to reading them over the next few weeks.
Attending Sharron Carrns class on curriculum writing. God’s timing on this one was perfect. I signed up for this conference in July. In September I was asked to participate in a writing project that involves study questions. This class was immensely helpful and I can’t wait to begin to use what she taught us!
Attending the class Tracey Bianchi taught on writing about social justice issues. She has written the book Green Mama, which is also on my reading list. Her passion was infectious and made me think more deeply about the issues God has called me to write about.
Shelly Beach’s class on writing from life was right up my alley. She said that there is power in having the ability to use and access our experiences to move people in some way. Hello, my passion!! It’s not that we need a wild and crazy life with lots of experiences, we just need to have the eyes to see that everything can be an element in a story and learn to mine the unique and creative things in our lives and use them! Shelly has written numerous works of fiction as well as books offering hope and help for those who are caregivers.
I met so many incredible people at the conference and had so many casual, encouraging conversations that it would be impossible to recount them all. I came home exhausted, yet refreshed and filled to the brim.
Thank you Guild Members for this breath of fresh air!