I’ve mentioned before what a solitary pursuit writing can be. Since I’m back on deadline, my typical day consists of getting up at seven. And I’m soooo not a morning person. I see my son off to school and my preacher husband off to the church. By eight I’m at my desk with my second cup of coffee and I write until at least one thirty. When things are really flowing or it’s close to deadline, I write until three thirty when everybody gets home. During the day, I take breaks to run the washer and dryer or to move Alice the robot vacuum cleaner to a different room. I usually eat my lunch at my desk.
On top of being home alone all day, though my loved ones are very supportive of my writing, nobody really gets the writer part of me. Not my husband, son, parents, extended family, or friends. But my writer friends are different story. They hear voices too. And we all think it’s normal. So while I manage to attend my monthly writers’ group meetings three to four times a year, conferences are a chance to see friends and make new ones. Just having so much creativity together in one room always stirs my ideas and gets my words flowing.
The Mid South Christian Writers Conference is an annual event in March of each year in Collierville, Tennessee. Though only three hours from me, I’d never been before. The day began with my road trip buddy, Linda Fulkerson. Linda and I have been to Minnesota, Indiana, along with Texas and Tennessee multiple times, in the pursuit of our writing. We started out attending and morphed into teaching.
A few years ago, Linda and I started celebrating our writing milestones with pie. There’s a place in Keo, AR that’s famous for their pie. Since we hadn’t been there and it was just a few miles off our itinerary, we decided to try it out. The sandwich called the Keo Special was to die for. Avacado, turkey and cheese on a parmesan crusted toast. Yum. This is making me want another. Then there was the pie. Linda had coconut. I had caramel. Another Yum. We were so stuffed, we decided if we go back again, we’ll split a sandwich.
We caught up on our non-writer lives during the drive and brainstormed our books. Linda and I make a great team. She likes to drive and I like to ride so we’re the perfect road trip buddies.
The conference began with a meet and greet with you guessed it–food. And we were still pretty stuffed. But it was good finger food type munchy stuff. We laughed and had fun while we munched. The two tables with arrows include our Arkansas group along with a few friends from other states. This is our room. We were both speakers and the conference organizers outdid themselves on our room.
The next morning, I made the mistake of volunteering to play a game as an ice breaker before the conference. On stage. They told me it was a clue game and that’s about all I knew. So I get on stage with another Arkansas writer. Behind her the conference director held poster boards of the word I was to give clues for. My category-The Bible. The first few were pretty easy-Noah’s Ark and Jesus and the twelve disciples. My partner got the answers pretty quickly. And then the card said, I Corinthians 13. My mind went completely blank. I know my eyes got huge and I shook my head, mumbling something like, I am not the kind of person who can come up with Bible verses and where they are. Especially, this early in the morning (around 8 am). The conference director gave me mercy and went to the next clue. It continued to go downhill. I think we got three or four answers. Once I was off stage, it hit me–Duh, the love chapter.
The next twosome got an easy category. Facebook – with answers like Profile, Bio, and Friends. They beat the fire out of us with seven correct answers. Lesson learned, don’t volunteer for any ice-breaker games. Especially early in the morning.
I spent the rest of the morning, sitting at my table selling mine and Linda’s books while she taught her class. I attended a few workshops, then taught my class. Which caused a whole other issue. I had to buy a new laptop last year. It has HDMI only. I taught at a writers retreat shortly afterward and learned that most of the monitors are still VGA. My laptop wouldn’t hook to the monitor to show my powerpoint while I taught my class. Luckily, I had my class on a flash drive and another writer loaned me her laptop. I’m totally not technical and had no idea what I needed to fix the problem. This time, we thought we found a cord that would work after the meet and greet the night before. But when it came time to teach and display my presentation, it didn’t work. I ended up teaching my class without powerpoint and without any handouts. I had everyone in my class write down their e-mail for me, so I could send them the class when I got home. One of the Arkansas gals, Candace, has a techie husband, so he texted me what I needed to fix my future presentations. Guess what this girl got when I got home–a HDMI to VGA adapter. I’ll be ready next time.
At the end of the conference Linda and our friend Regina from Kentucky played the password game. Their category was classic book titles. They knocked it out of the park since Regina’s day job is librarian. Despite my embarrassment over my failed password game and my lack of powerpoint, it was a great conference. I came home with new ideas and energy to pour into my book. That’s my traveling bud all the way to the left in the bottom photo, along with Cindy and publisher Kathy Cretsinger in the front row. In the second is another Kathy and Tonya. All the way in the back is April, the conference director that made it all happen.
By the way, in case you haven’t realized it, I’ve been here at Inspy for officially a year. To celebrate, I’ll giveaway a copy of Winning over the Cowboy, print for US and e-book for international. Tell me your favorite dessert to get in the drawing. Deadline: April 19th, 11:59 pm central.