One of my very favorite parts of being a writer is the family reunion. We gather, hug, laugh, share stories. We eat (usually WAY too much) and drink coffee (there is no such thing as WAY too much of that). We celebrate with one another’s successes, commiserate over heartbreaks and disappointments. Learn together as we all grow in our writing.
The Breath Christian Writers Conference is more than a conference. It truly is a reunion. I felt it as soon as I walked through the doors on the first day last year.
The highlight of the conference, for me at least, was meeting Latayne C. Scott. She had become one of my mentors at Novel Matters (a blog by novelists and for novelists…a community, really). Now, you need to know, Latayne is no lightweight in the writing world. With titles like “The Mormon Mirage”, “Latter-Day Cipher”, and, her most recent, “Discovering the City of Sodom” (on which her “Dr.” title appears), Latayne is a name that is well respected. And I didn’t even begin to list her credentials. The woman writes the way the rest of us breathe.
At first opportunity to meet Latayne, my stomach fluttered. A friend (who I’d just met), pulled me over to where Latayne sat.
Another thing that you need to know, Latayne is tall, blonde, and absolutely beautiful. But even better, her smile is as genuine as it is sweet. She hugged me like I was an old friend.
I learned that writers can be gracious people.
During a few of the plenary sessions, Latayne sat with me. We ate together. Chatted during breaks. She encouraged me.
I learned that writers (even super duper cool DOCTOR writers) can love the company of other writers.
With much anticipation, I attended her session. She spoke on the importance of the writer living in the space between the unseen and the seen (that space is faith). She used such loving, life-giving, well-filling words that reminded me of the importance of writing as a Spiritual act of worship. (Check out “The Hinge of Your History“).
I learned that writers can worship when they choose to write for God. Regardless of earthly success.
At the end of the conference, after most of the attendees left for their comfy beds and a warm cup of relaxing tea, chairs needed to be stacked. Tables folded. Boxes lugged out to Ann Byle’s beloved red van (I just love Ann Byle). I watched Latayne get right in there with everybody else. As exhausted as she was from long travels to get to the conference, constant social interaction, several sessions of teaching, Latayne did more work. And I was compelled to drop my bag and carry some boxes.
I learned that writers can be servants.
Honestly, of all that I learned that whole weekend, that last bit was the part that engraved itself on my heart. My mentor, my hero, my friend, Latayne thought of others first. In her interactions with me, she asked how I was. She didn’t market anything to me or talk about how wonderful she is (although she truly could have). When she taught her lesson, she didn’t tease us with just a tiny bit in order to sell books. She taught us soul soothing and edifying truths. And she worked until the church doors were closed and locked. Not for attention. No. She did it because that’s how she is.
I learned that writers, the truly great ones, are humble.
Registration is still open for the 2012 Breath Christian Writers Conference. The dates are October 12-13. Register at www.breatheconference.com. It is well worth the time and (minimal) financial investment. You will never approach your writing in the same way. This conference will make you remember all that you really love about being a writer. We would love to see you there.