This past weekend a few of us here at Christians Read attended the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Indianapolis. It’s hard to describe the blessing of being in a room (a crowded room!) filled not only with others who love to worship God, but also share a similar passion for the gifts He gives. In the halls or workshop rooms or at the banquet tables, each of us knew at any given moment we could talk to someone who knows what it’s like to create a character, build a story world, or record scenes on the page with the hope of transferring an emotion from our heart to the heart of a reader.
While it’s probably true that most if not all writers were readers first, there is something different about that other step, the one that makes some readers want to become writers. I’m not sure what it is, where you’d find that difference on our DNA, but I’m pretty sure it has to do with what made us readers in the first place. Most of the writers I know tend to be sensitive toward what evokes emotion—and isn’t that what reading is all about? It’s what both readers and writers are after, immersion into a world apart that can create anything from laughter to tears on a roller coaster ride of emotion.
Another aspect came up in the wonderful conference workshop that our own Jim Rubart taught with Allen Arnold: God made us in His image—to be creators. We’re all creators with a small “c” in some way or another. Some of us create crafts or artwork or feasts or an inviting environment for people to call home, while others create in less tangible (but still vital) ways by encouraging/protecting/teaching. Still others create within the science or business world. The kind of creator God made those of us at the conference is a creator of stories. Whenever we’re doing what God wired us to do, we feel His pleasure. Maybe that’s why it’s likely no matter what kind of creator God made you to be, you enjoy being with others who share a similar passion.
So what do writers do at a writer’s conference? The main purpose is to enjoy workshops that teach either the craft of writing or the business side of our careers. Occasionally there are workshops that explore the spiritual side of the writing life, which is what Jim offered. Conferences, especially Christian ones, are like one great big hug fest where we finally get to see the people we chat with on blogs and writer’s loops throughout the rest of the year. The events are meant to instruct, inspire and nurture fellowship, and this one didn’t fall short in any way.
We’re already looking forward to next year!