I will be attending my first writers’ conference in a few days. Wow, let me say that again. I will be attending my first writers’ conference in two days. One year ago, I was just getting comfortable with writing in my journal. Most of my friends knew I was starting to take my writing more seriously. And now I am finally taking the next step of faith and investing in my craft. It is hard to believe.
Over the last few weeks the anxiety has been building with all the decisions I thought I needed to make. I set a pretty high standard on how to be prepared for this conference including having several chapters written on a book and being prepared to pitch it to a publisher. Also with the timing of my first manuscript being published in a book this summer, I wanted to make the most of the writers’ conference by having my platform defined, getting my website up, a new email address, new business cards designed and so on. I wanted to be able to make a favorable impression with whomever God put in my path at the conference.
After talking with a writing mentor of mine, she really helped to talk me “down off the ledge”. I was reminded about how I do already have a blog, a business card, and publicity photos and am a published author. Earlier this week I also received an endorsement for my story from a national author and ministry leader whom I have long admired. That is pretty amazing stuff for a beginning writer. I am doing my part and God is definitely doing His.
I think I started to lose sight of what this conference is really all about for me. As a new writer, I’m not expected to have it altogether. I’m not expected to know it all or to have it all under control. I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to relax and remember that God got me this far in the process in a miraculous way and in His perfect timing. He’s not going to abandon me now.
I also think what I needed was permission to not have to do this perfectly and to not have to perform. As I let that sink in, I start to feel a tremendous sense of relief and freedom to attend the conference with much more grace for myself and this process.
As a recovery group leader at my church, I know what it is like to have newcomers attend their first recovery meetings. They are often anxious, have lots of questions and are generally in a place of deep need. I openly welcome them into the group, answer their questions and offer encouragement to embark on their recovery journey. Why would I expect anything less from a Christian writers’ conference?
So I have to learn to be a newcomer all over again. I have to patiently learn the writing and publishing process. I also have to learn to make mistakes and move forward with God’s help. And that’s the journey of life. At my age, you’d think I’d have it mastered, but I am a work in process . . . one day at a time.