10 Things I Learned At My First Writing Conference {She Speaks 2016}
Spiritual Growth

10 Things I Learned At My First Writing Conference {She Speaks 2016}

Whitney
Whitney

Never did I imagine sitting in my old worn yoga pants that I would attend a writing conference.

Being a stay-at-home mom can wrap some limitations around our mind.

In fact, a couple of years ago I would be frozen by the thought of a writer’s conference.

My first writing conference was amazing and I hope I can inspire all of you mommas to follow where God calls you. Even if you are walking on unfamiliar waters.

Why the She Speaks Writing Conference Is So Special

For me, it’s the leaders and speakers in the spotlight.

They are the mighty warriors of several spiritual battles behind the curtain.

Daily their perseverance breaks through delivering God’s glory on the Proverbs 31 team, their new First 5 App, and to the writers, they lead on Compel.

These ladies have been my mentors since I joined their writing community last year.

My first writing conference with Suzie Eller
Meeting Suzie Eller for the first time

Honestly, the thought of meeting the ladies who taught me the craft of writing makes my heart leap more than seeing any celebrity a foot in front of me.

It’s not just a writing conference it’s a huge opportunity.

This year 1,000 women anxiously waited to get off the waiting list, including me!

Getting off the waiting list for She Speaks seemed impossible.

But, with our God, nothing shall be impossible.

On the night, my fingers exhausted their efforts to finish my first guest post, tears running down my cheek singing away at my frustration, the acceptance letter dinged in my inbox. Drops of happiness clashed with my irresistible urge screaming, “I’m going to She Speaks!”

Drops of happiness clashed with my irresistible urge screaming, “I’m going to She Speaks!”

For a stay-at-home mom, this invitation seemed more like attending a Cinderella Ball.

But, after my yes, came countless battles ahead of me.

Before the My First Writing Conference {She Speaks 2016}

Here’s a glimpse of what happened following my YES to my first writing conference.

  • my grandma’s health declined
  • The family was trapped in a war of emotions with each other
  • The sweet lady I called grandma joined the Lord
  • I had several strong battles with my writing and even going to the conference
  • I found out my other grandma passed away resulting in me feeling guilty for how I left our relationship
  • my friendships struggled to thrive
  • our van was totaled
Grandmas together

When We Say Yes to God

I know all these events do not revolve around me, but when we say YES to God’s path for us it’s not always easy. It’s a tugging war of several emotions, but in the process, it’s also exciting!

I know every string Satan pulled. He knew I was walking into something that would encourage me into my own ministry with God.

It’s easy for anger to take control of our lives when these spiritual battles take over. So I wanted to share the grace I was given when our van was totaled.

I was only two miles away from home when I stopped for an ambulance racing out of the fire station.

Then all of a sudden a white heavy truck rammed into us.

It happened so fast I couldn’t even think of what to do. When I turned my head to see if I was blocking traffic I seen our whole back window shattered.

Van rear ended

My son still had his eyes closed taking a nap.

Can you believe he slept through the whole thing?

My daughter looked at me with concern. My head pounded, but I stepped out of our van speechless.

I held my anger and suddenly an unexplainable grace filled my body.

An older man stepped out with tears in his eyes and calloused hands.

His boots were crinkled and I could smell the dirt of a hard working man.

I saw him as a person like me and you. He wasn’t just the person who totaled my vehicle. He was a man loved my God who made a mistake.

Peace filled my body like an overflowing sink.

I could feel the pain in his life before he spoke the confirmation of his wife’s death a month ago. The smell of alcohol blew in the air and all I wanted to do was hug him. He had just endangered my family and all I could see was a person loved by God in a difficult season of life.

Before we left I asked if we could pray together. We gathered hands and the man spoke before I could utter a word.

When Grace Takes Over

Together we prayed and we cried.

I don’t know if the words claiming he had insurance was true or not. I’m not sure if the alcohol on his breath made him not drive more clearly.

I do know God had His hands in this mess bringing a stranger and me before Him.

I could have walked up to him yelling, “What were you thinking!”

Some of you reading this will probably never understand how I could be so gracious. In a way, I don’t comprehend the grace within me.

All I know is this was a God moment.

I thought of the times I prayed for protection over my family and God met my prayer in this crash.

There was glass shattered everywhere! And not me, or my children had a scratch on us. The boxes with my grandma’s belongings were untouched, and yes they were in the very back!

The week before She Speaks there were several attacks on fellow sisters attending the conference. We were warned. We were prepared in prayer. But, seeing these spiritual battles only sent my heart quivering in the unknown.

Why was Satan fighting so hard to keep us away from She Speaks?

Saying YES to God isn’t always easy.

The Morning of My First Writing Conference

My alarm rang before the sun peaked in the basement window beside me. The butterflies started flying in my stomach which reminded me of the first day of school.

Who would I meet?

What would it be like?

Would I fall flat on my face?

I usually wake up to kids jumping on my back wearing my old worn yoga pants.

Now let me tell you, putting yourself altogether in less than one hour takes work!

Oh, working moms, how much I admire your strength!

But, honestly, it was the first time in a long time I felt beautiful. As I walked out the sliding glass door from the mother-in-law suite we rented, confidence flooded me. I didn’t have the perfect sentence summarizing my book (as my mentors recommended), but I held the last month of hard work in my bag.

As my book proposal rested in completion, only from the pure power and strength of God, I knew He would also walk me through my fears of meeting fellow writers, publishers, and speakers.

The countdown to my first writing conference was finally over.

And, the realization hit me when I arrived. My husband wiped away my tears as our car parked in front of the conference center at the Embassy Suites.

All I wanted to do was run away and remain in vacation mode.

But I couldn’t because God called me to this very spot.

I knew God had transformation waiting for me, but my soul wanted to resist what He in store for me.

Gold Flats at She Speaks

My gold sparkly flats entered to a beautiful building with white couches and beautiful scriptures hanging all throughout the main hallway.

My day started with Amy Carroll complimenting my jeans and Lisa Allen loving my gold sparkly sequin sweater.

You can say I was a little flattered.

She Speaks Entrance

I met the faces in the square profile pics on Facebook I had been chatting with for months. My dear sweet friend from Norway greeted me as I opened my She Speaks goodie bag.

The writer’s I encountered had sweet souls filled with grace, encouragement, and purpose.

She Speaks Friend

The three days filled with meeting women in all areas of life with stories and messages that others needed to hear. In the midst of my introverted self, I would escape in the dim prayer room filled with candles, music, pillows, and scripture.

There God would grab my hand long enough to give me the strength to keep moving in the direction He wanted me to go.

She Speaks Necklace

The Common Theme of My First Writing Conference

Everywhere I went I seemed to notice a common worry beneath me—rejection. Rejection-

  • For who I was.
  • From where I stood in my calling.
  • Fear of having my book proposal tossed in the little tiny office trash can
  • And even in making new friends.

Even a glimpse of feeling like God would leave me hanging in the moments I needed Him the most.

After my first writing conference, I decided to start a podcast. Go check out my Passion Brewing Momma Podcast.

Wondering If I Felt Rejection At My First Writing Conference?

Honestly, I would love to tell you all my moments thrived with amazement.

A few times rejection screamed at me, but not in the ways I envisioned.

One session ended leaving enough time for Q&A time. A fellow writer asked a question, but she had a problem getting the right words off her tongue. My heart sighed, because yes, I too have been there. I noticed some ladies mocking her.

Rejection hit the room, but the soft spinning thumbtack only seemed to poke at my own hope for acceptance.

The big sting of rejection only hit hard once more.

After eating dinner and networking for the hundredth time, I left for some more alone time with God.

I returned to my seat only to find the ladies asking about who was sitting in my seat.

I wanted someplace comfortable, familiar, and that special red seat that my bum rested on only twenty minutes ago wanted to rest there again.

The lady who I previously scooted over to make room for all of her friends started kicking me out of the table.

My body stood in shock and right in that moment the waiter came with a big tray behind me.

Then the lady’s friend’s face turned like she had tasted something rotten while she told me to get out of the way.

I’m sure these ladies meant well, but in my eyes, I only felt rejection when she asked, “Oh are you going to be okay?”

I was ready to leave! The tears filled up, but I refused to spill them. I reminded myself of my obedience to be there and that thought calmed me. God made me giggle when Lysa TerKeurst announced the theme for her big message.

Can you guess what it was?

Rejection!

As many words of others have always stuck to me, Lysa’s line will always continue to reinforce the enemy’s waves:

“Their words must not become our words.”-Lysa TerKeurst

What Was My Big Takeaway?

I’m always thirsty for it, but rarely taste it—confirmation! All I really wanted to hear is someone saying, yes, your book needs to be written.

Of course, I dreamed about it while making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I didn’t expect so many women confirming not only my idea but a firm ministry in front of me.

My first writing conference picture fun

I didn’t expect to walk out of two publisher appointments without my written book proposal.

I finally could read the fine line between every step towards North Carolina.

Obedience-and the big steps to get here only led to bigger and higher steps ahead of me. I thought God’s job for me finished after She Speaks, but He led me to a greater purpose than I could ever imagine;

to minister and lead several moms to show them purpose through the lies of perfection.

Another common theme wrapped into the conference.

God likes to call us to places where we have never been.

As you finish reading my post evaluate what that means for you. This year has been the most challenging for me to obey God. As this post might not betray my battles fully, but I truly have felt the weight and challenge to saying yes to God.

It’s hard to let go of how we want to do things versus God’s way.

It’s difficult to accept the unknown outcomes when God lead us out of comfortable. I strive to be comfortable.

Will you be willing to say yes to God in the things that seem impossible?

I hope you will!

Want to read more?

Check out what God called this crazy momma to do after She Speaks!

10 Things I Learned During My First Writing Conference

I learned so much from my first writing conference, but I wanted to break down the 10 big takeaways.

  1. Attending a writing conference is not as scary as it seems
  2. With God, we can do what feels impossible
  3. Never be afraid to share your story
  4. Going to a writing conference helps you grow as a writer and speaker
  5. Speaking about your writing helps you define your purpose and audience
  6. Writing Conferences help you with your craft for writing and speaking
  7. Speaking about your book idea to total strangers helps you prepare for publisher appointments
  8. You’re not alone: yes, others love what you love and struggle with the same things!
  9. You can define your WHY for writing
  10. Just have fun

Here’s a fellow blogger I met at She Speaks. She’s so great with her words. Go check out what she learned!