The Benefits of Attending a Writers Conference

When I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers Conferencein Dallas, I

The view from my table of Michael Hyatt at the Dallas ACFW Conference.

came with the hope of meeting the keynote speaker Michael Hyatt face to face.

Who is Michael Hyatt?

Ah, I see you’re not a writer. Click on his name to know more about him.

Mike’s influence has helped me to lose weight, start a blog, and publish a book.

I won’t belabor the point beyond the simple truth that I’m grateful to Michael Hyatt.

When I stepped into the lobby of the DFW Hyatt (how ironic), I searched for a familiar face in order to get oriented. And, yep, the first face I recognized was Michael Hyatt’s.

I introduced myself. He greeted me and introduced his companion. I mentioned I’d just arrived then asked where the conference registration was.

“Oh, you did just get here.”

Knowing Michael Hyatt was the keynote speaker prodded me into signing up for the conference but, after the prod, God spoke to me through a number of people.

Peter Leavell, 2011 Operation First Novel winner, shared about being fine without God’s help until an auto-immune disease put him in bed unable to form a coherent thought. When he said, “I needed Jesus,” he brought me back to the truth, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:7).

Jan Stob with Tyndale House Publishers offered me sound advice on where to find my reading audience.

Susan May Warren and a host of other workshop leaders taught me valuable lessons on crafting a better, deeper story.

In a moment, I’ll share some important lessons I learned, but let me begin with what almost held me back from attending.

Doubt. The fact I haven’t posted since mid-September serves as a clue to the doubts I’ve wrestled with about my writing. If I’m a lousy writer, why would I waste other people’s time by attending a writing conference?

Fear. Travel and conference attendance cost money. Why would I waste money on something I’m not very good at (okay, that still sounds like doubt)? And because I wasted money, we fall behind on our house payments and scrape by on beans and rice for a year or three (now, that sounds like fear—and, yes, I am that much of a drama queen)?

I’m glad, after the Michael Hyatt prod, I didn’t make decisions based on fear and doubt.

Because …

I connected with a writing community. I need other people who are passionate about writing to encourage me to continue. And they did.

I connected with my calling as a writer. Sometimes I forget why I do what I do. Thanks to others I began to remember the reason. I write to deliver a message of hope to a hurting and confused world. I do that through the power of story. I need Jesus and I need Him to speak through me to others.

I connected with those more experienced. At times, I’m still lost on the writing journey. At ACFW, I listened to the stories of those who had fallen, failed, and yet rose to move forward. Experienced authors served to teach me how to develop stronger skills in storytelling.

Whether you write stories or not, connecting with a community in Christ offers you encouragement on your faith journey, reminds you of your calling in the Lord, and places you in contact with the mature in faith.

I’m curious. Where do you find encouragement in your faith and clarity in your calling?

Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes

Two men. Two eternal destinies.

One common hope.

What people are saying:

A very intriguing book that puts a different spin on Heaven and Hell. It is not just fluffy clouds and a fiery lake. T. Neal Tarver has created a story that you won’t want to put down until the very end.—G. Worthington, College Student

My final verdict…I loved it! –Chris Patton, Christian Business Owner, Christian Faith at Work blog

Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes can be found at:

WestBow Press

Barnes & Noble

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About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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