So, it’s been a couple weeks since my last post and it’s with good reason. Two weeks ago, I had my family vacation and attended the Realm Makers writers conference. Since then I’ve had a flurry of things to get done in advance of the four book releases I have later this year (YEAH, FOUR!). With so many good things it might seem strange that I’m thinking about running, but just bear with me and hopefully I’ll make some sense.
Writing conferences are a wonderful intersection of dichotomies. For instance, if you’ve gone to one you’ve been to every one of them. Yet, every one of them is distinct and valuable. They consciously stir in you the core and purest urges as a writer in an exciting way, even if you unconsciously already were acting on those urges and core tenets in the proper way. It’s a strange refueling process that you’re hard pressed to believe until you’re actively participating in one. It helps having authors like Tosca Lee and James L Rubart deliver key notes that detail the challenges they overcame in order to reach the level of success they have in their careers.
At a Christian fiction writers conference, it’s also encouraging to be reminded that success for believers doesn’t reside within the scope of financial or critical success but in fulfilling the calling God has placed on your life. It can be difficult to say impacting a single reader is a worthwhile career, particularly if that one reader was in your immediate family or friend circle. But if that impact is in their relationship with Christ the importance and potency of that impact has eternal reverberations.
I’ve taken a bit to post this in large part because of how busy I’ve been, but also because I realized at a certain point I wanted to take a breath and have some perspective on what a conference is and isn’t. The paragraphs above were how I felt and wrote the week of the conference, while I was still freshly infused with optimism and renewed zeal. But coming home is like stepping out of Willy Wonka’s factory back onto the grimy streets of industrialized London again. And I think that’s healthy, because conferences are as I said a boost, but boosts fade over time. They’re not the whole race.
Events likes conferences can encourage and pick you up, but they can’t run the length of the course or get you to the end you’re seeking. Not even if they end in a new book contract, landing your dream agent, or making great connections that last throughout your career. Life and the nature of publishing ensure that there will be hurdles and trips and falls and heat and booing from onlookers and side stitches and shin pain and all manner of adversities that will make you want to quit. A week after the conference those hard realities already began to hit me and that conference high looks so far away now.
But I wasn’t running to get to that conference peak. Just like I’m not running to get my next book released or written or win an award or hit the bestseller lists. I’m not even running to make a career of ticking off that list of achievements. Writing, like every facet of my life, is part of a bigger race, the biggest in fact. The one that leads towards a city unlike any other and to which I’ll race till the last of my days knowing I’ll never reach there on my own. It’s the race the Apostle Paul spoke of in his letter found in 2 Timothy. The race of faith. Every endeavor is another step on that path or it’s a detour from it. My prayer and aim is that I use what I learned at the conference and the perspective from it to keep my eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of my faith, through Whom, with Whom, and for Whom every word I write, or will, and every step I take is devoted. Remembering that makes the road ahead look so much more bearable. I hope it’s one you’re on as well.
UP TUESDAY: SOMETHING NEW!
UP NEXT WEEK: SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES