A Writers’ Conference I’ll never forget.
Everyone who’s ever been to the Write to Publish conference will be able to relate to this post. Everyone else who loves to write but has never been there, I suggest you start making plans for next year. You’ll never regret it.
I’ve been to several writers’ conferences in the New Brunswick area. Most of them went from Friday evening to Sunday morning. But Write to Publish (WTP) is by far, the biggest writers’ conference I’ve ever attended with nearly 200 attendees from all over. And though I’ve enjoyed the smaller conferences, the main thing that sets WTP apart is that it is a Christian conference. As a Christian aspiring author, it was very important.
Three years ago, after reading two great novels by Davis Bunn, I emailed and told him how much I enjoyed them, and said that I was an aspiring author. He replied and gave me the following advice, for which I am truly grateful.
‘There is a truly excellent conference in Chicago. Write To Publish at Wheaton College… Attending one of these big events is crucial. They attract major agents and publishers, people who represent the largest houses and who can offer you a contract on the spot…You will leave these five days with a much clearer sense of what is required to bring your book concept up to commercial standards, and how to proceed from there…”
Awesome advice. I looked into it right away. In 2010 and 2011, things didn’t work in my favour. But this year, God opened the door. I had enough reward miles to book a flight to Chicago. Yes, God always provides, even in the form of reward miles.
Write to Publish takes place at Wheaton College. Attendees arrived Tuesday to get their rooms, registration packet, and a chance to meet and greet over dinner. Wednesday morning, after breakfast, we were off to the Billy Graham Centre for registrations, first-timers’ orientation, and the opening general session with keynote speaker, Eva Marie Everson. After a break with refreshments, we went to “continuing classes”. There was a variety of topics to choose from and you can find them on the WTP website.
After lunch, we chose from a great variety of afternoon workshops, each day offering different topics ranging from writing children’s books, screenplays, articles, fiction, non-fiction, flash fiction, fantasy, devotionals, e-books, and workshops on how to develop your creativity, set your goals, the book promotion process, and so on.
There was a wealth of information, in the form of handouts and notes. I didn’t want to forget anything so I came prepared with notebook and pen in hand, taking 41½ pages in all.
After supper, there was a general information session followed by manuscript critiques group. Each day, the scheduled changed and from Thursday to Saturday, we had worship time after breakfast and supper led by authors Cynthia Ruchti and Michelle Rayburn, and author Jack Cavanaugh was the guest speaker. It was a time to unwind and to bring our praise and worship to the Lord. This too, set this conference apart from the others.
We heard from the pros in the field, such as authors, editors, agents, publicists, and awesome speakers. We even had a change to book 15-minutes interview with editors and/or agents.
WTP offers an amazing program called ‘Paul/Timothy Mentor Program’ which “pairs conference alumni and first-timers to help new conferees feel welcome and more comfortable in the first couple of days and give alumni opportunities to mentor and share their wisdom.”
My “Paul” was Crystal, a wonderful woman I first got to know via email. She gave me encouragement, answered a lot of questions, and was really there for me. Thank you, Crystal.
And a very special thanks to Lin Johnson, director of Write to Publish, for the amazing job of putting this together. I never realized how big it was, and thus, couldn’t fathom all the work/preparation that went into this. You’re truly amazing.
Just as Davis Bunn recommend it to me, I in turn pay it forward and recommend it to anyone who’s serious about writing. Write to Publish is more than just a conference. It’s in investment that a beginner writer can’t afford to miss.
I’ve been home for over a week now, and I’m still on a ‘high’. I’ve learned so much more than I anticipated, and met wonderful people whose friendship will cherish forever. I’ll always be thankful to God for opening this door and providing for me to go there. God willing, I’m going back for 40th anniversary of Write to Publish, in June 2013. Hope to see you there.