Coming To Know What I Don’t Know

on May 23, 2016 in Blog | 12 comments

It’s possible to go to the Breathe Writer’s Conference and remain clueless.Proverbs 25-11

In fact, it’s possible to go to that aforementioned conference twice in a row and remain clueless.

I’m Cal, and I’m a clueless Breathe Attendee.

(“Hi, Cal…”)

Now, I’m not so deluded as to expect that by sheer virtue of attending any conference, one immediately puts the pieces together, springs into a frenzy of creative output, and then your magnum opus comes forth, fully formed, like the nekkid gal rising from the sea just wearing that dreamy smile.

(Apologies to those of you that know me for the mental image of anything related to me rising nekkid from the sea with a dreamy smile. Send your therapy bills to the Breathe Writer’s Conference – they started it.)

You then begin your stellar writing career, dropping your astonishing works behind you with such frequency as to make authors wring their coffee mugs in despair, all while beholding the glory of your droppings, a path of nuggets of gold on pathways of silver.

Hang on – gotta check something…

(Turns to Book of Proverbs, electronically flipping “pages”… Hmmm… “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” – Proverbs 25:11 (NIV))

Well, that was awkward.

So, after three Breathe Conferences, still without much writing output to show for it, one could conclude that this writing thing is a dead end, or at least not worth dropping some serious coin on. (Relative to our household budget, that is – the conference is a true bargain for all it includes!)

But, at least for this Calbert, that would not be a good conclusion to draw. Or paint, using the cool numbers and little paint cups.

Besides, crayons are more my jam.

What I’m realizing, as the calendar turns and pre-registration is open once again, is that I’m just now coming to know what I don’t know.

I really don’t know what direction my writing wants to go. I don’t know what my “platform” is, and I’m slightly afraid of heights anyway. And I don’t know what aspect of my “unique perspective” should be my main writing “voice.” (I do know that one of my more grievous writing sins, of which there are legion, is overuse of quotation marks… I tend to overuse dot-dot-dot too… A lot… Yup… And don’t even get me started about italics.)

For some folks, maybe one conference is all it takes to kick start that puppy, shove it into overdrive, and launch that campaign of world writing domination, making all weep in awe of one’s wordsmithing bodacity.

For we Calberts, not so much. For us, the process seems to take a bit longer. And by “longer,” I of course mean “turtles whipped into a feeding frenzy by imbibing energy drinks.”

So I’ll be signing up for Breathe once again, finding out more about what I don’t know. Someday, the seeds will sprout, and writing will spring forth.

Untitled design (26)



Cal Olson
Lover of God, Teller of Stories, Player of Whistles, Appreciator of Wonder, Afraid of Spiders.Cal is the Keeper of the Fluffy Goodness at:


  1. Calbert, I’m so thankful for your honesty (and humor). You’re such a big part of Breathe and a great encourager. Keep coming! The Breathe community is richer because of you!


    May 23, 2016

  2. I’ve been going to writers’ conferences (including Breathe) for at least 7 years and I feel I am finally getting it. I’m in the process of writing my first novel and the whole writing process is starting to make sense. So hang in there Calbert. All is not lost.

    Lorraine Baldus

    May 23, 2016

    • And we love having you, Lorraine! Breathe wouldn’t be the same without you. So glad we can help you on your writing journey.

      Ann Byle

      May 24, 2016

  3. Sometimes – and for some oftentimes we have no idea that God uses us or how He uses us. But we listen and obey His nudges. Thank you for listening,obeying, and letting Him use you.

    Nancy Carlson

    May 23, 2016

  4. Cal, creativity surrounds us all — we are immersed in it! It is only our openness and vulnerability that allows the creative spirit to flow in to those empty spaces and find its voice. If you are closed, it’ll simply flow on to where it finds the next space to breathe. Your continued openness and willingness to explore is one of your inspiring and endearing traits, and why your musings are so meaningful and valuable. Looking forward to so much more from your pen . . .

    John Mulder

    May 24, 2016

  5. Cal, I love this post for so many reasons. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve found your voice 🙂 Everyone has their own pace and no one’s journey looks exactly like another’s. I love watching your journey. Keep going! See you in October!

    Amelia Rhodes

    May 24, 2016

  6. Excellent words, Calbert, and great advice. Everyone is on a different journey: not better or worse than any other, just different. Glad you gave voice to our questions and dreams.

    Ann Byle

    May 24, 2016

  7. So much truth in these words, Cal. Thanks for your honesty and humor! Most of us feel like there is a lot we don’t know…which is why Breathe exists. The more you know…,the more you realize there is more to know… Long live the ellipsis. 😉

    Denise Vredevoogd

    May 25, 2016

  8. Cal, that was a great post! Plus, let me be honest – you’re dressed as the Doctor. How awesome is that?! I’m a Matt Smith, Doctor Eleven girl, by the way 🙂 This will be my first Breathe conference, and I’ve just sent out a book proposal for my first fantasy novel. I still don’t know what my platform really is, but I’m going about it every day, putting down the words that my characters keep telling me to write. It’s exciting, and I can’t imagine not doing. So keep going!!!

    Linda Ransom

    May 27, 2016

  9. Cal, you were a blessing to me and to others last year and I am happy that you will be there this year.

    Melinda Priebe

    May 31, 2016

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