I could write a book on what I learned by attending the Taylor University Professional Writers’ Conference. It was one of the best writing conferences I have attended. It felt intimate. I didn’t feel lost in the crowd like I normally do at conferences.
My favorite part of the event were the keynotes by James “Jim” Watkins and Bob Hostetler. They have been friends for forty years. I could tell by their comradery and fun-loving way they warmed up the crowd. Their keynotes were recorded, so hopefully, we can share the links soon.
Jim’s keynote on mental health was so good. His vulnerability in sharing his story took the talk to a higher level. I’m sure many writers can relate to Jim’s struggles. At the end of his speech, Jim asked those not dealing with mental health issues to stand. I hesitated. Should I sit or stand? I’m not taking medication. I haven’t been diagnosed with any mental health issues. But some days it’s tough to put a smile on my face and soldier on. When faced with too much reality and bombarded with news of a world out of control, I just want to numb out with Netflix and chocolate.
I have so much to be grateful for. Overall, I’m in pretty good shape mentally. My faith is strong. Thank goodness. Otherwise, it would be game over. I am so grateful God is always with me. My rock to lean on.
I stood up. Jim asked those standing to put a hand on the shoulder of someone who remained seated and pray for them. Whew! I was glad I stood up. No one was sitting near me. I’m usually on or near the front row which is not a popular spot for some reason. Anway, I prayed for everyone, especially those seated, to be comforted by God’s strength, peace, and unconditional love. It was a powerful moment.
Bob’s keynote brought me to the brink of tears when he talked about waiting on God’s timing. I could relate so much when he talked about writing for years and nothing seemingly happening. I have been writing since high school in the 1980s and still haven’t seen the commercial success that I see from writers who are just getting started. It’s so frustrating. But, as Bob reminded me, we never know who our writing will touch or what it will inspire. That type of wisdom is the inspiration we need to keep writing, keep pursuing our passion, and keep doing what we can to make a positive difference in the world.
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
ღ About Kathy Gerstorff ღ
Kathy Gerstorff is an indie author and poet. She loves to write and publish books to help good causes. She has contributed to and published several anthologies including Break The Cycle series, Naturally Yours, Remember When, Nature Matters, and many others. When Kathy is not writing, publishing, or helping indie authors, you can find her reading, swimming, hiking, blowing bubbles, or on an adventure with her family. You can learn more about Kathy and her projects at writerkat.com.