You Never Know Who Is Watching at a Writers’ Conference

by Sally Matheny

eye blueEven though conferences can be physically exhausting, I still feel revived after participating in this year’s Write2ignite Conference. Not only through the reinforcing of my writing skills, but also through the refreshing of my spirit.

If you didn’t attend the 2015 Write2Ignite Conference, allow me to share with you a glimpse of some blessings I witnessed. I’m sure others saw additional blessings, because you never know who is watching you at a writers’ conference.

Here’s my short list:

I witnessed an outstanding director, Jean Hall, who has the amazing gift of staying calm under all circumstances, and keeps things running smoothly. Her faith in God to bring it all together is always apparent. She also carries a handy-dandy, tiny pair of scissors on her keychain. I’m looking for a miniature roll of duct tape so she’ll have the perfect combo set.

A super, helpful young man named Dylan came to help the team set up for the conference. Dylan maintained a quiet presence during the entire conference and always there to help whenever called upon. He also had excellent skills for locating items people misplaced.

I had the pleasure of transporting author, Tim Shoemaker, back and forth to the conference each day. I appreciated his helpful words as I shared with him about my pre-speaking jitters. In addition, he was kind and understanding when I missed our turn-off and when I kept juggling and dropping things once we arrived.

I knew, without a doubt, my family was praying for me back at home. But what a blessing it was to have friends at the conference pull me aside and whisper a prayer over me before I spoke. God heard all our prayers and his amazing grace calmed me just before I stepped behind the podium. Thank you, Lord.

I noticed smiling teens enthusiastic about writing. One teen in particular I heard go up to Tim Shoemaker and thank him for speaking. She said she didn’t write for boys but his talk about the topic helped her have a better understanding of her brother!

I saw numerous authors and editors taking time to chat with teens and adults outside of the classrooms. Award-winning author of six books, Jenny Cote paused to offer a word of praise to those selling their first published book. Those encouraging words go a long way.

Watching members of the leadership team do their jobs with enthusiasm is always a blessing. It’s like a joyful family reunion whenever we get together and we all love the mission of Write2Ignite.

During Praise and Worship time, I loved watching Donna Earnhardt take heed of the Holy Spirit prompting her to call on someone to give a testimony. What a tremendous blessing to hear a young teen girl, without prior notice, volunteer. She eagerly shared a vivid description of when the woman with the alabaster box poured perfume on Jesus’ feet. If that wasn’t enough, Donna, who had been wiping her tears as she listened to the girl speak, then stepped up to show the audience the song lyrics that were already cued up for the next song, “The Alabaster Box.” How awesome was that?

Later, another woman shared her testimony of how God spared her life in a horrific accident, providing her a second chance to accept His love and eternal salvation. She reminded us of the importance of seizing those opportunities today, not to wait. Even though this woman still experiences tremendous physical pain every day, she is using her written and spoken words to point others in the direction of her Savior.

I watched people volunteer to help others all weekend—with an umbrella, a ride to lunch, and a seat in the auditorium. Smiles, prayers, and encouraging words weaved throughout the crowd.

Even the homeschool mom, who volunteered to help with the snacks in the Green Room, continually checked to make sure everyone had what they needed. She kept asking if the coffee was fresh enough. She cared about those she served and gave full attention to every detail. What a blessing.

I saw God’s blessings overflow this weekend. I can’t help but wonder what others saw. Surely, in the crowd on campus, there was someone who was struggling with a life issue, someone who was lonely, or someone who is not in a close relationship with Jesus Christ. I hope they saw a glimpse of what I saw.

If you did attend the Write2Ignite Conference this year, what blessings did you see?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://write2ignite.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Sally-Matheny-1F1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Encouraging others is Sally Matheny’s mission in life. She enjoys “reflecting on ordinary life under God’s extraordinary Light.” A freelance writer and blogger, Sally’s ordinary days are blessed with her pastor-hubby of 25+ years, three children, and a home that can’t stay clean for more than seventeen minutes. Find encouragement from Sally on her blog: www.sallymatheny.blogspot.com/ and Twitter: @sally_matheny [/author_info] [/author]

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12 thoughts on “You Never Know Who Is Watching at a Writers’ Conference

    • You are absolutely right, Cecelia! The Write2Ignite Conference is drenched in prayer all year long. We continue to stand amazed at the blessings of God.
      Thanks for sharing and please continue to keep Write2Ignite in your prayers.

  1. Thanks, Sally, for those observations. Sometimes I get so tangled up in the details of the Conference that I fail to enjoy the people at the Conference. Thanks for this reminder that it is the people who truly make our Conference special.

    • Ah, Jean. We have to be mindful of the details too or we would have a mess on our hands! God is a God of order. We just have to pause and reflect on other things going on as well.

  2. Last year was my first Write2Ignite experience, and I was blown away. I came into this year’s Shine conference excited and ready to be a blessing and be blessed.

    Right out of the gate I had tears filling my eyes during Sally’s opening session. SHe addressed us as friends, peers, brothers and sisters, from a heart saturated with the love of The Lord. I just wanted to invite her to lunch so we could talk one on one – which I may still do. Her goal was met, and the message rang loud and clear: I can be all that God has called me to be, and walking in that means I am allowing HIS light to shine through me. Stay focused on the true goal – to Him be the glory!

    It is always so humbling to be able to blessed and encouraged by those thoroughly embedded in the industry. This year was Tim Shoemaker, and I can’t really put into the right words what his insight into the heart and mind of middle aged boys brought to the way I think about writing. Not only were his presentations perfect pictures of classic public speaking methods, but the content was pointed and relevant whether you wrote within his genre or not.

    I love everything about Write2ignite: the team leaders, the speakers, the writers/editors/publishers/agents involved, the young writers that come to soak it all in and learn the craft of writing, the willingness of the team to do it different every year, and most important to me, they pray. They sing, and they genuinely desire for the Holy Spirit to show up. And He does.

    The industry is overwhelming enough, I am so thankful that they have pulled together their resources and work so hard every year to provide a venue and experience for authors that is embraceable. IF I could keep my conversations to a minimum, i could literally talk to everyone there, but I have yet to accomplish that. As He would have it though, I do talk to everyone I was supposed to talk to. God is a master conductor in orchestrating introductions.

    I could go on and on, but I will leave it at this. It seems everyone is trying to “find their voice”, and if they’re not trying to do that then they are looking for just the right platform to use that voice. God is revealing to me in bits and pieces that my voice is not our POV or the characters. Rather it is the issue or issues that rally you to the point of action. I call it my “message”. It’s the message I find myself talking about the most even when no one else really cares or feels as passionate about as me. It’s the message that I desire so much to share with the church, encouraging her to hear this message, receive it, and move in it feeling stronger and braver than ever before. I found my voice, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

    • Ah, Joy! Thank you for your gracious complements. We are thrilled that Write2Ignite! meets a need in your path as a writer for God.

      I agree whole-heartedly about your platform being the message of your life – not just the topic of your writings. The thing God has burned in your heart to share with others – your purpose for writing.

      Thank you!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Joy. God always amazes me in how He works through the Write2Ignite Conference.
      I’m so glad you had a great experience at the conference. See you next year–and I’d love to eat lunch with you and talk about what you’re writing!