Every Christian writer, new or established,
must attend writers conferences.
In the summer of 2009, bestselling author Davis Bunn gave me the following advice: “My one fervent bit of advice would be for you to attend one of the six major Christian writers conferences. 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. This means that any input and criticism they offer carries the weight of the current publishing world. Also, these events have morning tracks taught by bestsellers in each direction–fiction, nonfiction, gift, poetry, and song etc. 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.”
He went on to recommend some of the best conferences in the USA. Wow! I listened. Why? God had given me the desire to write. I wanted to learn the craft, and learn it well.
2012. Write to Publish, Wheaton College, Chicago. This first conference gave me a chance to test the waters, grow, and work on my new skills as a writer. I made long-lasting friendships, and learned a lot attending continuing classes and workshops. Worth. Every. Penny.
2014 / 2015: Mt Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA. What a beautiful setting. My ‘home’ for five days was a spacious cabin, shared with two other writers. When I walked in, I found a welcome note and a snack from one of my roommates who I hadn’t met yet. How sweet! Thanks, April.
At the end, someone who was driving back to San Francisco drove me across the GOlden Gate Bridge, and to an area where I could see Alcatraz. What Treat. Until 2014, I’d never been to CA. I returned the following year and had the wonderful opportunity to take a continuing class from Davis, the author who’d spoken those very wise words to me, encouraging me to attend Christian writers conferences.
2015: Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville NC. Another oasis. That one holds a special spot in my heart. Thanks to Ane Mulligan, I saw many different sites because we drove from Sugar Hill, GA all the way to Ashville NC. I had many God moments at Blue Ridge. It was there I pitched a novel for the first time. Again, totally awesome experience.
2014, St Louis, MO / 2016, Nashville, TN: The second time I attended Mt Hermon, Karen Barnett, historical romance author strongly recommended that I, a fiction writer, attend ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I did. It was the largest I’d attended so far. Friday evening, many go sightseeing, shop around, and grab a bite to eat downtown. ACFW was also special. I flew to Chicago where another wonderful writer and good friend, Pam Meyers, picked me up at the airport, and we drove to the conference together. Great conference. Trips of a lifetime.
All the above conferences have phenomenal speakers, teachers, worship teams, and of course, writers, people who will leave footprints on your heart! If you asked me which was my favourite, I wouldn’t be able to answer. I loved them all. Though they all offer many similar things, the learning experiences are different and totally indescribable. The friendships that ensue from sharing a room with writers who have so much in common with you are out of this world. Seeing them again when you both attend your next conference is even better and so much fun.
There are many more great conferences throughout the USA. I pray God will open the door to two other ones for me, not necessarily this year but it would be awesome if He did. Hey, I’ve seen Him do much greater things. I’ve had my heart set on Colorado Christian Writers Conference, which is in May, and Oregon Christian Writers Conference in August. Both highly recommended.
Whatever you endeavour to do in 2018, may I encourage you to pray God will open the door to the best learning experience you’ll ever have as a writer. I pray 2018 is the year for you! If you attended a conference, will you please share your experience?
For a more comprehensive list of Christian Writers Conferences, check out this link: BookLaunchMentor.
Looking forward to hearing from you. Until then, be blessed.