Have you ever felt like your brain might run out of storage space? Like you might need to upgrade your mental hard drive? I felt that way this weekend after attending my first writers’ conference--the North Texas Christian Writers’ Conference.
All day Friday and Saturday, I had the opportunity to take classes from fantastic authors who shared their insight on how to improve, how to get published, and how to stay motivated. The word “overwhelming” comes to mind as I think back on all the information that I tried to absorb, and am still trying to process, in addition to all the neat people that I met.
I think one person in particular sent my mind into my mental overload (the good kind): award-winning author Britta Coleman. I lurked about on her blog prior to the conference and looked forward to the four classes that she was scheduled to teach. Britta shattered any stereotype that great writers aren’t always great teachers. She gave us practical tools to use when writers’ block hits, told us what her journey to publication entailed, and made me believe for the first time that I might actually be able to write fiction. But more importantly, she urged us to expand our vision by encouraging us to read books outside our worldview. I have a lot of work to do in that area and now have a list of at least ten books that I want to read. Britta’s book Potter Springs is at the top of the stack, and I hope to post a book review soon.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to navigate all this new territory by myself; my friend TJ acted as my guide throughout the conference. TJ graciously allowed me to ride with her to the conference and to room with her, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to pick her brain on writing, leading a small group, running a household with four children, reading for pleasure, and shopping. It was my honor and privilege to get to cheer her on as she received first place in the non-fiction articles category of the writing contest held in conjunction with the conference.
After all that learnin’, I was mentally exhausted when I returned home Saturday evening. But my weekend activities didn’t stop there. On Sunday afternoon, my small group threw a baby shower for one of our members, and I met with my writers’ group that evening to continue work on our Advent devotionals. Last night served as errand night, and so tonight is the first night I have had to download.
I am looking forward to having time to recharge, reflect, and get re-centered in the days ahead. And as I do, I’ll be pondering how to expand my worldview and how to be in the world, not of it. I know that’s no easy task. Any thoughts on that?