So, I did something.
I put on my grown-up pants and flew across the country for the 2014 Faith & Culture Writers Conference. About six weeks ago or so, I had a mini-meltdown. I was feeling utterly burned out and frustrated, and I needed a change of scenery. My husband suggested finding a conference to attend. I tweeted that I was looking for something, figuring maybe someone would know of one within driving distance. Jessica of Faith Permeating Life suggested the FCWC, so I looked it up.
It was in Newberg, Oregon.
I actually laughed out loud because the idea of flying alone across the country to meet a bunch of people I only know online was completely absurd. Right? Turns out not so silly after all. My husband practically hovered over me to make sure I didn’t chicken out as I registered. He booked my flight and my rental car while I took care of the hotel.
Was it worth it? You bet–every minute.
I would be lying if I didn’t say that the best part was meeting a bunch of pretty awesome people from blogging, Facebook, and Twitter. Forgive me for name-dropping, but it was incredible seeing these people face-to face. Believe me when I say they’re as cool in person as online. Besides Jessica, I spent time with Natalie Trust, Carly Gelsinger, Stephen Carter, Aaron Smith, Kate Schell (who is definitely one of my favorite people to have met–she’s just a really neat person), Emily Maynard (whose breakout session on speaking up was outstanding), Ben Emerson, Justin Hanvey (who graciously forgave my frequent introverted awkward silences), and Micah and Sarah Murray.
One of the highlights of connecting with so many wonderful people was the chance to chat with Sarah Bessey. If you’ve never met her in person, one thing you need to know is that she is every bit as terrific as she seems from her writing. I had the privilege of driving back to our hotel with her after dinner on Saturday night. In the car, she asked how I ended up at the conference. I confessed my emotional drama and how I had desperately needed a break, and instead of thinking I was weird or oversharing, her response was, “Of course.” Two words that made my feel about as validated as any lengthy blog post could have. If you ever get to meet Sarah, you’ll see what I mean about the kind of person she is.
I promise to write more another day about the conference itself and why I came back changed. For now, I’ll sum it up by saying the trip was one of the best decisions I’ve made in ages. Here’s hoping I can make an annual trek somewhere to meet and talk with my fellow writers.
I’ll be back later this week to write more about the conference. Tomorrow, please check out my other blog, where I will have another piece of my work-in-progress.