Breathe Writer’s Conference 2013 – Enter The Rookie

My view of the world, from my favorite table at Biggby, with my favorite fur baby

Through God’s grace, I attended the Breathe Christian Writer’s Conference. And I’m going to run out of superlatives to describe it.

So every time you see the word, “Wow,” insert the over-the-top exclamation of awesomeness of your choice. Thank you.

Here we go… reviewing, in writing, a conference for real, honest-to-goodness writers. And (maybe) even letting them know that I did.


The whole feel of the conference was nice. More relaxed than I expected, but exactly what I needed as I try to wade into the water of writing.

I’m sure there was networking going on, hobknobbing, some “have your people call my people” and other connections being made, but it wasn’t so “in your face” that it made a rookie feel like either 1) a second-class citizen ’cause I don’t roll in those circles (Word to yo word processor); or 2) a little slimy because everybody there is attempting to make power connections, kind of like sharks circling a big ol’ tub-o’-chum.

Om nom nom.

Perhaps the networking movers and shakers were using secret hand signs, to separate the peeps worthy of connectage from the clueless noobs who barely know how to tie their shoes, writing-wise. If that was the case, I want to say thank you. This rookie felt right at home.

The Lord kind of stacked my schedule so that I knew the one, and only one, workshop I was supposed to be at for each session. Because, in His kindness, He knows that if He wants me somewhere, He simply takes out all other choices, thus improving the chances that I’ll get the hint and show up. “Sit! Stay! Take notes! PAY ATTENTION!… Good Calbert.”

Pat pat pat on the head. Calbert pants, drools, and scratches his ear with his foot.


So the first day seemed to be all things for me to “take in” – things to look at, things to consider, and assistance in getting a view of what Calbert looks like as a writer:

A fun but serious look at my blog, thanks to Susie Finkbeiner;

Help in finding space, time, and nourishment for writing from Erin Bartels;

And some great illumination on learning styles with Jolene Philo.

Three workshops to turn my eyes inward, consider how writing works in my life, and some things to work on, especially in that great pile of fluffy goodness I call my blog.

The final day was where the Lord gave me some tools to start using, prompting me to type along and make so many notes that I could see fingerprints in the shape of a keyboard on the iPad’s screen.

– I hadn’t been eating anything greasy, and I did wash my hands, so it had to have been the note taking, right? –


“Creative Emergence” with Don Perini – inexpressible levels of *Wow.* Rattled my brain, gave me concrete things to work on in the abstract realm of creativity, AND made soap chalk move to the top of my shopping list.

*Wow.* And TMI, for the record.

Then the one that pretty much rang my bell in a positive, heart-warming, Quasimodo sort of way…

“Short Forms: Playing With Nonfiction” from Cynthia Beach. (TWO Cornerstone professors in a row! Way to represent, professor peeps!)

Anyway, Cynthia exposed this tuba player, who never even thought of going near writing and literature, to beautiful examples, amazing tools, and the freedom to play with them. I was challenged, moved, and encouraged.

*Wow* (To the 10th power, or whatever someone who isn’t mathematically challenged would add to make the inserted exclamation of awesomeness much, much larger…)

The last workshop was the one that I knew I would be going to, regardless of the topic…

Amelia Rhodes is not only amazing, kind, sweet, and writes in the same genre I sort of do (only really well), but she’ll even admit in public that she knows me.

A saint. Truly.

A great ending to a day of “Take notes, and expect there to be many quizzes in days to come.”

Breathe was where God led me, where God met me, and where God told me, “Will you finally believe Me? You’re a writer – now GET TO IT.”

Yes, Lord. I have no idea what to do with it or which way to point it, but, yes, I’ll go write.

“Good Calbert. Good boy.”



  1. amelia says:

    I am so, so glad that you came! And of course I’ll admit I know you. You’re incredible! I love this: “Perhaps the networking movers and shakers were using secret hand signs, to separate the peeps worthy of connectage from the clueless noobs who barely know how to tie their shoes, writing-wise.” Oh you make me laugh.

  2. Cal says:

    Thanks, Amelia! Folks that know my quirky sense of humor tell me that as I try to “find my voice,” I’d better not lose my crazy side. No worries there, I think!

    I got this post under 750 words, thanks to the 3 S’s. IT WORKS!! 😀

  3. Jerry says:

    Entertaining summation of the conference from a humble rookie’s point of view. Cal, you have a columnists voice which jigs and jags between observation and engagement. It’s obvious you play scrabble or have done a lot of reading over the years…noobs? (never heard that one before) I wish I could download words from your brain to mine. I was good to meet you and experience you. Write on!

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