Spring conference season presents opportunities for writers to hone their skills and reconnect with industry professionals and friends. For me, it’s also a time of refreshing. The Mount Hermon Writers Conference in the California mountains above San Jose is a favorite. The beautiful location combined with excellent teaching means several days of glorious immersion in the writing life.
A few years ago I almost gave up and quit attending conferences. My ideas were flat, I felt like I was wasting time and money, and I doubted my calling to write. I left one conference deflated and ready to pack up my writing books. Then came Mount Hermon. Since I’d already paid for the conference and plane ticket, I decided to go and enjoy some time in the redwoods. I arrived with no agenda. That’s when God can do His best work isn’t it?
As I sat in my room and reviewed my registration packet, the seed of a new book idea formed. I perused the class schedule with renewed interest. God healed the ache of despair with inspiration. Just as promised in Jeremiah 31:13, He turned my mourning into joy. Purpose filled my heart again.
I’ve attended many conferences, both for writing and legal education. Over the years I’ve discovered how to squeeze the most out of each conference without hitting overwhelm and exhaustion. Every gathering offers a multitude of classes and sessions to attend. Going to every session however, is usually too much.
Since that fateful spring, my writing journey is different. I’m not yet where I want to be, but God continues to open doors and provide opportunities to learn and grow. Mentors have come into my life through the Christian Writers Guild and My Book Therapy. The thing I said I could never see myself doing—fiction writing—I’m now doing. And loving it! My nonfiction writing is better because I’ve learned to craft stories. At Mount Hermon, God found me sorrowing over the loss of a dream, vulnerable, and at last ready to be molded into the writer He wants me to be. He began the process of refreshing my soul. Now, each spring I return to that place and embrace the work God wants to do in me so we can write together.
I encourage you, my writing friend, to find a place of refreshing in your writing career. Whether a conference, a favorite project, a sanctuary of worship and prayer, or your writing nook, the place doesn’t matter. The important thing is to let the walls fall, the ones you’ve built around your ideas about writing, and explore God’s plan. Let Him refresh your spirit and inspire you in ways you can’t imagine now.
Donna writes women’s fiction and is represented by Sue Brower of the Natasha Kern Literary Agency. She’s a licensed minister, conference speaker, and estate planning attorney. She also works with GenderSave, a nonprofit seeking to empower women and girls at risk from gendercide practices in India. Contact Donna at donnakrice.com.