The Beauty of Community

MtH4

As I write this blog, I’m sitting on a bench beneath towering California Redwoods. There’s a gentle breeze blowing, carrying with it the fragrance of evergreens and sunshine. But it carries something else. Something wondrous…

The sound of community.

All around me, people are walking and sitting and standing, and as their voices drift past me I hear a number of things:

Excitement
Shared laughter
Commiseration
Exploration
Instruction

But most of all, what I hear is passion. Pure, unadulterated passion. For writing. For words. For sharing God’s truth and wisdom on the written page (or, as the case may be, on the Internet). For the gift that is writing.

I’ve had numerous people ask me why I always recommend writers’ conferences to them. I wish I could take moments like this–sitting here at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference, listening to the chatter and excitement buzzing around me—and package them. Then bring them out and let them speak for themselves. Because friends, there are few things more wonderful that being in the company of like-minded people.

MtH3Many of us experience that in critique groups, but that isn’t quite the same. Writers’ conferences like Mount Hermon are far closer to…well, to how I envision eternity. To being immersed in the wonder of God’s Word, and of the creative power of words. To talking with people who not only speak you language (English), but who speak you language of POV, proposals, Show vs. Tell, narrative, exposition, and on and on. Fiction, nonfiction, articles, kids books…it doesn’t matter what you write. When you’re in the company of other writers, you’re home. I’m home. And it’s a feel that uplifts, and excites, and energizes.

Why come to conferences like this? To go deeper into your craft. To find friends who will not just help you as a writer, but who will last a lifetime. To know you’re not alone in this endeavor. To experience, for just a moment, the wonder that will be eternity, where we’ll all know and share the same passion: worshiping the Creator who breathed His gift of creativity into us!

Writers’ conferences are beneficial. They’re empowering. And, in oh so many ways…

They’re just a big magical.

16 Responses to The Beauty of Community

  1. Richard Mabry March 27, 2013 at 5:18 am #

    Karen, Well-said. Mount Hermon holds a special place in my heart, not only for the professional advancement that has come my way because of what I learned, but because of the friendships I’ve forged through being there. Thanks for contributing to all that, and for sharing this with us.

  2. Pat Jaeger March 27, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    Thanks for the post, Karen. It looks so peaceful and beautiful. Hope to be at my first conference in Indianapolis and want just what you describe: Like-minded folks loving what they’re doing and sharing their passion. Blessings!

  3. Jeanne T March 27, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    Karen, I attended my first conference–ACFW–last September. I loved meeting people face-to-face whom I’d interacted with online. We encouraged each other, prayed for each other during appointments and talked story. I loved it! There’s something in the air at a writer’s conference. I think it tastes like anticipation and is scented with excitement.

    I’ve considered attending Mt. Hermon next year. We’ll see how finances line up.

  4. Robin Patchen March 27, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    Karen, you’re absolutely right. Being surrounded by people who understand what it means to have entire families living in my head–that’s a rare thing. Being able to encourage others and have debates about grammar and POV and tags vs. action beats makes me feel sane for a few days out of every year. I won’t have the opportunity to go to a big conference this year, and I’m already mourning the missed opportunity.

  5. Lisa March 27, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    That sounds wonderful :) Community is a special, needful thing!

  6. Michelle Bengtson March 27, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Karen, I attended Mt. Hermon for the very first time this past week. I experienced just what you said…the opportunity to deepen my craft, community with like-minded people, the establishment of new friendships that I know will last a lifetime, the joy that comes from worshiping the Creator who bestowed us with His gift of creativity, the peace that comes from knowing you are exactly in the center of His will, and the magic of seeing Him transform lives. It felt like a glimpse of heaven. God was very near and present at Mt. Hermon. I was blessed!!

  7. Meghan Carver March 27, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    Sounds wonderful, Karen! My enthusiasm for ACFW in September has just increased tenfold. Hundredfold!

  8. Marion Stroud March 27, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    Remember, remember Karen?! Not just Mt Hermon – wonderful though that was … but the road trip that preceeded it. Tulip field picnics where there were no tulips WITH Robin, Alcatraz and San Francisco without her. Bonfires and asthma; Julee and Lori. So much has happened in my writing life since that 1st Mt Hermon, and the part I treasure most is the forever friendships that I made then.

  9. Janet Ann Collins March 27, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    I went to Mount Hermon for years and always thought Heaven must be a lot like that conference. I hope I can afford to be there next year. I mean afford be at Mount Hermon, not Heaven. That one has already been paid for.

  10. Christy Hoss March 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Karen, you said it quite well. I have termed myself a “Lifer” at MH. Since my first time there 6 years ago, it has drawn me closer to God, the writing community and improved my writing skills. I am more than happy to return the favor over and over again to MH in any way possible just to express my continual thanks. To God Be The Glory!

  11. Peter DeHaan March 27, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    Karen, I’m impressed that you’re at a writers conference and found time to blog — and I depressed over not being able to sit under a giant Redwood, so please enjoy it for me!

  12. Tom Hauser March 28, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Karen,

    The Mt. Hermon conference was God’s community beyond what we ever could have asked or imaged. Over 300 like minded, yet eclectic individuals with a commonality for fulfilling His will. We (Amy & I) will never forget it and the impression in made on our hearts. We can’t wait for 2014.

  13. Jo Huddleston March 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Karen,
    Friend, you said it so well. The community of a writers’ conference is a unique thing–unique to writers. And we’re not always understood by those who don’t write. So glad you took time out to enjoy and post this blog.

  14. Linda Strawn March 28, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    I haven’t attended a writer’s conference at Mt. Hermon…yet, but have been there for several women’s retreats years ago which took place in another part of the property. I remember someone telling us with great enthusiasm, “They have the big writer’s conference over there.” At the time I only wrote for “fun” and thought, “oookay, so what’s the big deal?”. Now I know it’s a huge deal and I dream of going there.

  15. Shadia Hrichi March 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Thank you, Karen, for beautifully capturing the spirit of Mt Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference. I, too, was exceedingly blessed. Thank you also for leading us in prayer and praise. Glorious time indeed :)

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