writing2Last month, I blogged about my desire to get some beginner excitement back—to recapture the joy of my first writers conference when everything was new and a good critique spelled success. I have been home from the 2013 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference for less than a week, and I am pleased to report that God gave me what I prayed for.

I’ll confess that on Day 1, I caught myself slipping into the mindset that often sucks the fun out of conferences and writing in general. Instead of sticking to the plan that I arrived with (Go to learn; be willing to go empty handed and open to what God has for me even if that means not pitching anything.), I started comparing myself to my friends and feeling the pressure to push doors wide open that weren’t even ready to be cracked. I’m so thankful that I recognized it quickly, because once God turned me around, I got what I’d been aching for. If you have a conference on the calendar, perhaps you will benefit from what I brought home.

Taking time to learn – Instead of attempting to even discuss a novel that was nowhere near ready, I took the fiction track and relearned how to write one. After an unbelievably difficult couple of years, I felt how desperately my creativity needed stimulating. Later in the week, I took another workshop that helped me figure out how to fix a problem in a current project. I walked away with a reminder of how much of that old joy came from learning and growing in the craft.

Divine appointments don’t always include editors – I had two precious God moments at the conference that left me thinking, this is why I came, and neither included an editor, agent, or writing-related connection. One was an impromptu prayer time in the restroom with three friends, and the other included a woman I didn’t know until she asked to pray with me. Both left me spiritually refreshed, hopeful about God’s plan for my future, and grateful that God cares more about my heart than my credits.

Passing it on – I got an unexpected opportunity to help the critique team. I have wanted to do this for years, and God granted my desire at the perfect moment. As I sat at my rectangular table giving pointers on chapter titles and how to avoid sounding preachy, listening to ideas, and showing writers that their rejected stories had promise, I saw the fruits of experience pay off. I no longer wanted to go back to being a beginner, but felt incredibly thankful to be at this stage of the journey, where I know enough to help others succeed but still have so much to learn.

God used this conference to unstick me in ways that I didn’t expect, leaving me amazed by His creativity and thankful that He didn’t take my advice on how to move me forward.

When has He done this for you?

Written by a Christian Editor Network member