5 Things a Non-Writer Can Learn from a Writers Conference

by Jennifer Haynie @JenniferHaynie1

Last week was a mountaintop experience for many writers. Four hundred people gathered in-person with another hundred virtual as the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference (#BRMCWC) met for its annual gathering.

We sat under the teaching of respected authors, editors from publishing houses, and agents. What a time we had! When we left, we left tired but full of knowledge, joy, and life.

As I ruminated over everything that happened last week, I realized that even non-writers could learn things from a writers conference. Here’s what I learned.

The value of being together. I’ll be the first to admit the pandemic was hard in ways I never expected. I missed the power of a human touch beyond that of my spouse. At BRMCWC, we hugged. A whole lot. I found it to be good for my soul. We’re made to be in physical community with one another.

The need to have a teachable spirit. As I’ve delved further into the craft of writing, I’ve come to realize that no matter how much I write or how long I write, I can always learn more. Any author of merit realizes that. At the conference, where Frank Peretti, who wrote This Present Darkness, spoke and taught, I noticed other writers who’d been published for many years in his class. Even at their level of success, they remain teachable.

The value of family. Once, I described BRMCWC to a friend of mine. I told her it’s like really intensive learning, one big party, and a family reunion all wrapped together in one package. As I thought about that, I realized how true it is. We’re all very different. We come from different backgrounds and experiences, but we’re a family of choice bound by two things: a love of Jesus and a love for writing.

The joy of laughter. One of the things we do at BRMCWC is have downtime in the evening after the activities for the day have finished. After intense instruction, there’s nothing better than to kick back and have time with friends. Groups will converge in the lobbies of where we stay, hang out, and talk. And yes, we laugh. A lot. Wednesday night, I laughed harder than I had in years. It’s good for the soul, and though I was bone-tired when I headed to my room that night, my heart was full.

The value of friendship. One thing I prayed for when I headed to BRMCWC last Sunday was a new friend. God amply blessed me in that regard because I walked away with several. We may not talk a lot during the coming year, but I can guarantee you that when we see each other again, that friendship will remain. Such is the bond of those who attend.

What we can learn at a conference can extend well beyond the topic at hand. #Authenticity #Encouragement Click To Tweet

I learned many things about writing that I’ve brought back with me to consider as I move forward with the craft. But, there’s so much more I learned.

I’ve relearned the value of a hug, the way a “family” can be created over shared interests and values. Let’s not forget about the thirst to never stop learning that can be fostered by a teachable spirit. Finally, we need to remember to laugh and most of all, treasure the friendships from which laughter can spring.

Question: In your profession, how do you find community?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Get in on the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

No Comments