Breathe Conference: The Tough and the Good


Last week I headed into one of the toughest, yet most rewarding weekends of my year.

Of what do I speak? Breathe Christian Writers Conference. The event in Grand Rapids covers fiction, nonfiction and poetry, as well as insights from editors, agents and marketers on how to get published and grow your platform.

The tough

This year (my third as an attendee) came on the heels of me accepting a new job as a reporter at Grand Rapids Business Journal. I knew my job would be starting the Monday after the conference. This gave me exactly one day to rest in between.

So I was stressing out. Worrying that I would be drained from all the socializing and networking. Fretting over my lack of creative writing productivity the past year. What will I have to tell people about who I am as a writer if I didn't write much in 2016? Who's going to believe that I'm a poet and a blogger if they google me and don't find anything recent?

The good

Breathe blew me away — AGAIN. It showed me how much room there is in God's plan for MY story, the one that includes fits and starts, fruitful days and dry spells. 

Some of the most affirming things: 

1) Novelist Tracy Groot's lunch forum, "On Creating a Good Work" encouraged me that our best always starts with our least. And so the question I should ask myself is not "How can I do a perfect job?" or "How can I have the most productive year?" but instead "What is the least I can do today to get the job done?" God isn't looking for perfection. He is looking for movement in our hearts.

2) All the poetry sessions on Saturday were great. Amy Nemecek led a session on the poetry of Luci Shaw, and Matt Landrum led two sessions: one a poetry critique workshop (SO helpful!) and the other on submitting to literary journals. I was so grateful for the extra emphasis this year on the craft of verse. I walked away from the critique session armed with suggestions on how to revise one of my poems, and I felt a deep sense of encouragement that I'm on the right track.

See how much the good outweighed the bad? I'm really glad I didn't listen to all those nagging fears about the conference. It refreshed my soul.

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Ann Byle said...

Rachel: Love your post, and your thoughts about Breathe. Writing can be so difficult, but if we look at the good that occurs we have a whole new perspective. Great challenge for all of us to quit dwelling on the bad and look at the good.

Rachel E. Watson said...

Very true. The thing is, we don't always get to see the fruits of our labor. And so inspiration from places like Breathe, to keep doing the work, is so important.