The Value of Friends and Writers Conferences

Writing is a solitary profession. Writers spend long hours practicing our craft in the confines of our offices, often going for months without seeing anyone else in our industry. This is hard, especially for novelists who, by nature, like people. In fact, the solitude was one of the most difficult adjustments I had to make when I left the corporate world. I was accustomed to being surrounded by people, to working with a team to accomplish a common goal.

(A side note: Since I was a director, I was also accustomed to managing the activities of everyone around me. I assigned tasks, and people did them. All I had to do was say, “That report needs to be finished before Monday,” and viola! The report was done. But my husband consistently resists being ‘managed.’ When I tell him, “Those dishes need to be washed,” he smirks and says, “Well, you’d better get busy then.” This was a difficult adjustment for me.)

One of the best ways to relieve the solitude of the profession is attending a writer’s conference. Due to limited funds, I’m not able to go to all the conferences I’d like to attend, so I have to be selective. I’ve just returned from my first Florida Christian Writers Conference, and I’m glad I chose this one. It’s big enough to attract a good selection of editors, agents, professional writers, and serious aspiring writers. And it’s small enough to maintain a personal, friendly atmosphere. I was honored to be added to the faculty this year, and since I love teaching, that was a blast. I also had the opportunity to give feedback to a few of the attendees. I was impressed by the quality of the writing I saw, and I heard others say the same. Best of all, I got to spend time with old friends, and made some new friends, too.

How wonderful to spend four days with several hundred like-minded people who understand the joys and struggles of the publishing industry. And it’s especially awesome when all those people also share a common love for the Lord. Not only did I walk away professionally encouraged, but also spiritually recharged. Now that’s something I never experienced in the corporate world.

I’m counting the days until my next conference – Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. I hope to see you there!