This is my Realm Makers recap post/amazing things I learned at the conference. I don’t have pictures to share because, honestly, photography really isn’t my thing. I think it’s part of the writer brain that makes me want to just soak everything in visually and mentally and not try and snap pictures. So sorry to people that wanted pics. 🙂
I got to meet some amazing people and even kind of spontaneously met another writer from Arlington which is where I’m moving this week! (In fact, by the time you read this, I will have already basically moved into my new place!) I got some awesome books (I’m looking at you Kyle Robert Schultz and HL Burke) which I may or may not have already read. Hey, I had a really long flight on the way back. 😛
I got to dress up as Toothless for the awards banquet which was a ton of fun! 🙂 I did take some pics of myself, so I’ll see about posting those somewhere one of these days.
But really the meat of what I wanted to say comes from the sessions I attended. I got to hear Ted Dekker speak which was fantastic. He’s very engaging and stated it was his mission to be authentic this weekend because we were basically his “people”, and yeah, it was amazing to see him speak and interact with people. But the theme I picked up from him and the sessions hosted by Mary Weber and Jim Farland on character and the heart of the story was to write authentically.
This kind of goes back to the post I wrote two weeks ago on writing fearlessly. There were so many times that we were told to write the story that’s on our hearts. Don’t worry about the marketing yet. If you want to include some “edgy” themes and you keep coming back to them, then it’s probably a good bet that they need to be in there. But there was also the caution that “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. There’s definitely ways to include mature/edgy/however you want to label it content tactfully and basically maturely. I liked Mary Weber’s comment that a lot of the time Christians might shy away from writing “issue fiction” when really we should be the one’s writing it, because we have the Truth that people might be looking for.
I loved this because it’s something I’ve struggled with as a writer who is a Christian. I have a few ideas that maybe a few of my followers and readers might not like because the ideas might be more “edgy” (not really a word I’m fond of, but it works for this). But they’re the stories on my heart. It’s possible to write a Christian book without mentioning God on every page. For me, it’s more about how do I reflect Christian themes in my book (moral character, forgiveness, etc) rather than trying to cram a religious message in. And that question definitely came up. Now I’m not saying that those of you who write straight Christian fiction are bad or should change. I definitely admire you and have enjoyed those books. But that’s not how I write. So I want to encourage any of you that maybe feel the same as me, that it’s ok to write about the ugly issues that are prevalent in the world today. Maybe we need to. Maybe in writing the story in our hearts, whatever it might look like, is what we really need to do.
I also really enjoyed the atmosphere there. While maybe I didn’t meet all 220 attendees or maybe even 20, there was just this really cool vibe that we were all in this together to learn and be authentically ourselves and encourage everyone else in this crazy journey of writing. Even as an introvert, I kind of instantly felt at home. I really did find my Tribe. I’m looking forward to many more Realm Makers conferences in my future and hope to maybe see some of you there!
I took the post title from a necklace I wore at the conference. It says “Wherever you may go, go with all your heart”, and it just seemed to me to really sum up everything I heard and took away from the conference.
I came out freshly inspired to write. I came out confident that maybe I’m on the right track with my story ideas. I came out more ready and willing to be myself.
Did you go to Realm Makers? Want to go? What does writing authentically look like for you?