“Don’t you love New York in the Fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies.” – Joe Fox, You’ve Got Mail
You’ve Got Mail has to be one of my all-time favorite movies. Yes, I am a sap. But I’m a woman who loves a compelling story, and Nora Ephron certainly knew her way around an enchanting story.
Now, I’ve never been to New York in the Fall, but I still love the season, and I love school supplies. “Bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils” and sticky notes and empty notebooks waiting to be filled with words. As a writer, these things are gold.
The other thing I love about the autumn season is the feeling of newness and fresh starts. While we’re nearing the end of the calendar year, September has marked the new year in my mind for most of my life, what with the start of another school year. My years begin in September.
Even though I have lost the tradition of the new school year (thank you, college degree!), I still see the season as a jumping-off point – a time for adventure and explorations. Last year, I had the opportunity to have my “September moment” in the magical woods of New Hampshire, attending the fall session of Squam Art Workshops. (If you want to read more about that trip you can visit my Squam posts: Part 1 and Part 2.)
My “September moment” this year also involved a solo trip across the country, and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the annual American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference in Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago (has it been that long already?). I somehow convinced my semi-introverted self to get on a plane (again) and go join hundreds of people I didn’t know at a conference for authors and publishing industry professionals. And what a wonderful decision it turned out to be!
I met the most amazing people who love words as much as I do (including my lovely roommates who I would have gone insane without!), learned so much from multi-published authors and other industry professionals, had mentoring sessions with authors I truly admire (including Jenny B. Jones!), heard fantastic keynotes from and spent some quality time in conversation with Robin Jones Gunn (a woman who is near and dear to my heart!), and even got to talk to editors and agents that I hope to have the chance to work with one day in the not-too-far-off future.
I am honestly still processing the goodness of my time in Indy, and I wish I had better words for the experience, but if you have the opportunity to spend time in community with people who are passionate about the same things you are and are working hard to live our their calling through their passion, please: GO. Meet those people, learn everything you can from them, and stay connected in whatever way you can. If you are a writer, you know – it can get very lonely sitting at a desk in front of a screen with no one but your characters to talk to. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Take the opportunities when you get them. You won’t regret it.
From one reforming non-risktaker’s heart to yours: step outside of your comfort zone and into your own “September moment” – whatever form that takes for you.
What “September moment” have you had recently? What kind would you like to have, but might be afraid to venture off to discover?