INSPIRE: to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on

The Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference (SBWC) was, for me, the most creatively inspiring event of my life.  It’s likely I’ve only seen the first ripple from this particular stone – I suspect the impact will be even greater once I fully digest the experience.

I arrived full of trepidation, praying no one would discover I was just a mommy blogger mistakenly awarded a scholarship to a conference meant for real writers.

At the orientation, it became clear that this wasn’t going to be a week of the “Ten tips for magazine writing” or “What is an adverb?” lectures I was expecting (and needing).  Instead, there would be five hours a day of read and critique sessions, panels of published authors, opportunities to meet agents, and evening speakers such as Steve Chbosky, Elizabeth Berg and Sue Grafton.

I was terrified.

The next day, I sat silently through the workshops, listening but not sharing.  How was I supposed to read about boogers after a lady read about her own suicide attempt?  I rationalized my silence as Sabbath observance, pretty sure the Sadducees would agree that reading aloud to a group of strangers constitutes work.

But, the next morning, fueled by caffeine masquerading as confidence, I did it.  I read.  Out loud.  To strangers.

And, I lived to tell the tale.

I spent the remainder of the conference in rooms filled with people who could passionately answer the question “What are you writing?”  It was magical.  It was Disneyland for word nerds.

It’s impossible to capture all I’ve learned about writing and myself over the past week.

The most I am ready to say is that I’m glad I went, I’m glad I shared, and I’m glad I have a notebook full of blank pages to fill.


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