Wanda Dyson is a multipublished
suspense author, currently writing for Random House/Waterbrook. Her one
attempt at a nonfiction book was picked up for an exclusive release on
Oprah. In addition to writing full time, she is also the appointment
coordinator for the CCWC, Greater
Philadelphia Christian Writers, and ACFW
It’s been eleven years since I attended my first writer’s conference. Eleven years, seven novels, and twenty-six conferences later, I still get excited every time I start packing for the next one.
Never been to one? You don’t know what you’re missing. I was writing before I attended my first conference, but I had no idea if writing was a career for me, or just a hobby. And I had no idea that all my little personality quirks weren’t quirks at all—they were the traits every writer has. But when I sat in a room with a couple hundred other writers, I realized with a deep sense of peace that for the first time in my life I was home. And writing was what I wanted to do with my life. It’s what I was born to do.
Conferences are held all over the country. Each month I’ll let you know what’s coming up. We’ll talk about what to look for in a conference, how to prepare for it, and what to expect when you arrive. By the time you read this, I’ll be preparing for the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Majestic location, a faculty of over fifty experts in the field of writing, awesome worship, and the hayride high up in the Rocky Mountains on the last day of the conference to top it off. It doesn’t get much better than that.
One of the first considerations for a conference is what you are going to get for your money. Almost all conferences give you the opportunity to sit down with a professional in your field, whether it’s an agent, an editor, or a multipublished author, but some offer more than others. Some will give you two appointments, others, like the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference, will offer you up to four or five. Some will guarantee your appointments, others won’t. Personally, I’d hate to spend anywhere between $500 and $1000 for an opportunity to meet with a certain editor only to find out when I arrive that it’s not going to happen.
What about the classes? How many classes offered relate directly to what you’re writing? No point going to a conference where it’s all about writing romance if you’re writing science fiction, right? So look at the schedule and make sure that you have plenty of classes to attend.
And what can you afford? It would be great to be able to attend the American Christian Writer’s Conference or Mt. Hermon’s Writer’s Conference, but they are a bit pricey. Not to say they don’t offer some great benefits, but most of those benefits might be geared for the more advanced writer. And we’ll talk about those conferences in more detail as we get closer to them. In the meantime, here are the May and June conferences.
May 1: Orange County Christian Writers Fellowship Spring Writers Day; Irvine CA: 100–150+ expected to attend, www.occwf.org.
May 7–8: Northwest Christian Writers Renewal; Bothell WA: 175 expected to attend, www.nwchristianwriters.org.
May 12–15: Colorado Christian Writers Conference; YMCA Estes Park Center, CO: 260 expected to attend, www.writehisanswer.com/colorado/.
May 14–15: American Christian Writers Charlotte Conference; Charlotte, NC: www.ACWriters.com.
May 16–20: Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference; Ridgecrest, NC: 350–400 expected to attend, www.BRMCWC.com.
May 21–22: American Christian Writers Atlanta Conference; Atlanta, GA: www.ACWriters.com.
June 2–5: Write-to-Publish Conference; Wheaton, IL (Chicago area): 250 expected to attend, www.WriteToPublish.com.
June 4–5: Annual Arkansas Writers Conference; Little Rock, AR: 150–175 expected to attend, www.geocities.com/penwomen.
June 5: American Christian Writers Columbus Conference; Columbus OH: www.ACWriters.com.
June 11–12: American Christian Writers Grand Rapids Conference; Grand Rapids MI: www.ACWriters.com.
June 11–12: Kentucky Christian Writers Conference; Elizabethtown, KY: 100 expected to attend, www.kychristianwriters.com.
June 21–26: Southeastern Writers Assn. Annual Conference; St. Simons Island, GA: 100 expected to attend, www.southeasternwriters.com.
June 23–26: Speak Up with Confidence Seminar; Grand Rapids, MI: 100 expected to attend, www.SpeakUpSpeakerServices.com.