Saturday, May 18, 2013

10 Things I Love About Writers Conferences

Alton Gansky, Me, and Eva Marie Everson

Winning awards is always nice. Having your work critiqued by a professional in the industry is a great benefit. Finding an editor or an agent who says "Yes" is the best feeling in the world for a writer. But there is so much more to be said about writers conferences. Especially as a Christian author.

Here are 10 Other Things I Love About Writers Conferences:

1. The opportunity to worship with like-minded people. Come on, we all know that writers are an odd lot. Put Jesus in the midst of them, and you can hear the angels sing.

2. Daily Devotions. As a writer, it's easy to get a big head. Especially if your work is praised, you get rave reviews, or you win a Christy award. It's humbling to be reminded each morning at conference that we do this for the glory of God, not the glory of self.

3. Fellowship. When you're surrounded by hundreds of people who do what you do, who you have so much in common with, it's a great time to make new friends. And who doesn't like clicking that "Add Friend" button on Facebook? Come on! Join the crowd. Who knows? Maybe, like me, you'll find new lifelong prayer warriors, BFFs, and mentors.

4. Meeting my roommate. Okay, this can be a bit nerve-wracking if you're an introvert, like most writers. You may know the person's name, if you're lucky, and now you're sharing a room with them - or maybe even a bed. Who does that? Especially in today's world. I have. And I've loved every one. We've spent hours into the night talking about life, family, and books. Maybe I'm crazy, but I love getting to know my roommates.

5. Dinnertime. Maybe this doesn't happen at all conferences, but the ones I've gone to allow you to eat with faculty. Some of the conversations have been terrifying and would make great story fodder, while others have been incredibly funny and my liver has gotten its annual workout. Just don't make someone laugh with food or drink in their mouth, or you may be wearing it.

6. Wisdom. There is a ton of knowledge present at these conferences. The faculty come prepared to teach it, and I come prepared to receive it. What's even better is when you can dig a little deeper and find those nuggets of wisdom. Asking questions, getting answers. Taking it to the next level. Finding out not only what to do, but how to do it. I love finding that wisdom each faculty member has.

7. Aha! Moments. With all of those writerly brains around, there should be plenty of Aha! moments at conference. Aha! I've found my "brand." Aha! I know what my novel needs to take it to the next level. Aha! That's what social network I should focus on. Aha! I never thought of that before. Aha! That's God's hand in my career - right there.

8. The Registration Desk. (Maybe I should have listed this one first.) "What?" you say. But have you ever stopped and looked around? Felt the electricity in the air? Seen the smiling faces as we begin to gather? It's the first place we come together. It's the first moment in our week/weekend together. It's the first in a series of next steps on our journey. It's the place long-distance friends spot each other across the room for the first time in a year. Love the registration desk.

9. The Journey. Whether I'm driving or flying to get to conference, I love the journey. I love spending a few final moments in prayer. I love the opportunity to brainstorm. I love that I am on my way. I love the expectancy of what God has in store for the time of the conference. I love anticipating the hugs and smiles of friends I've grown to love over the internet for the last twelve months. I love taking time to enjoy the journey. And on the way home? I love the time alone to reflect on the week before returning home, to husband, kids, and everyday life again. It gives me time to figure out what I need to do next and to anticipate the hugs and kisses and excitement upon my return home.

10. The Vacation. As a writer, we work alone a lot. We do the same routine day in and day out, working toward word counts or chapters or finished novels. Or maybe writing is our second job and it's the one we really love and wish we could do full time. Or maybe we are a wife and/or mother first and spend late into the night hours pouring words over pages after pouring life into hearts all day. For me, conferences are a vacation. They are a break from everyday life. They are fun. They are exciting. Like a theme park. Like a roller coaster. You never know which way your career path is going to turn next. And that, to me, is thrilling.

What do you love about conferences? Maybe you're not even a writer. I'm sure many of these points could apply to just about any conference. What would you add to the list?


  1. So very, VERRRRRYYYYY excited. LOVE this post, Alycia - and see you TOMORROW :D

  2. Wonderful reminders! Thanks Alycia. I love the learning and the laughter.

  3. Oh, now I'm even more stirred up and excited. Thanks for the post Alycia and for all of your encouragement!

  4. Thanks, Alycia. I enjoyed reading this post. This will be my first writers conference and I'm nervous but very excited. I hope to meet you while there

  5. The best thing for me was the trip last year. I took it with my daughter. Yup. Alycia Morales!

  6. Long sigh..... How I wish.... Another year perhaps.

  7. Thanks for all the comments, friends! I've been traveling today and am so excited to see all who can attend this year. Judith, we certainly hope so.


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