Wow, what a great conference! I’m speaking, of course, of the Christian Writer’s Guild conference that Jerry Jenkins and his wonderful staff put on each year.

Naturally, I was there as an editor to represent Harvest House, but in so doing, I often listened to the speakers and the conferees through a writer’s ears.

Here then are some of the highlights:

* Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales, was just great. I’m sure much of what he said is also in his recent book. I highly recommend it.

* James Watkins is a very funny guy. His best line: “Nothing terrible happens to authors….just terrific anecdotes.” That’s mostly true, of course. Who else but a writer would go through cancer and think I wonder how I can turn this experience into a book? (That was my response several years ago when I underwent successful treatment for cancer….so I must be a writer!)

* Philip Yancey spoke about creating “gravitational force” in our writing. I’m going to save that topic and do entire blog about the concept.

There were other highlights too. Far more than I can write about in a blog–length report.

Of course, for me, one must-mention highlight was meeting with aspiring authors. This conference was particularly good in that regard. I found 8 or 9 projects that will require closer scrutiny. That’s a pretty high number, so I’m jazzed about that. For aspiring authors, I hope you can see why attending a conference at least once a year is vital to your success. In a couple of weeks I’ll be the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference, then at my personal favorite, Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference (I joke to friends about wanting my ashes scattered at Mount Hermon). I’d love to see you at either conference.

Another fun aspect of conferences has to be the friendships that develop. It was nice to reconnect with other editors whom I admire and to meet some new ones I’ve wanted to know. Some of the writers are good friends too. One in particular is a dear lady who I see there every year. She inspires me. She’s 86, still writing, and a bundle of joy and energy. As we finished talking, after her pitch, she asked me if I needed prayer about anything special. I mentioned a writing project of my own, and she grabbed my hands and prayed heaven down into that meeting room. Included in her prayer was that the resulting book would be a bestseller. I have no doubt that God heard that prayer and will answer. So, you see, it’s not just writers who receive at conferences, but editors too. At some point soon, I’m going to blog about the place of prayer in the life of the writer.

Now go sign up for a writer’s conference somewhere this year. There are plenty to choose from.

Check here.

4 replies
  1. Shannon Dittemore
    Shannon Dittemore says:

    I need advice! No, that’s not it. Maybe I need to wallow.

    I’m so incredibly glad that you’re conference went well. I’ve been banking on Mt. Hermon all year and given that it’s just a three hour drive for me, I’ve been stoked. We’ve got the money, my husband’s supportive, and our writing group even secured a fantastic discount, but it’s just not going to happen this year.

    Our one-year-old is having a hard time sleeping and struggling horribly with separation anxiety. I can’t clean the bathroom without her screaming for forty minutes. Five days away just can’t be justified. In any case, I finished my manuscript last year, and for a year Mt Hermon’s been the goal–my fiery baptism into the world of writing and publication. So, I know I’ll get over it, but still…. I’m sad.

    Thanks for sharing the highlights from this conference. I hope you’ll do the same for Mt Hermon. I’m a downer tonight, aren’t I?


    I’ll work on it.

  2. Richard Mabry
    Richard Mabry says:

    Your words about conferences echo my own thoughts. I’m blessed this year to be included in the faculty for Mount Hermon, and I look forward to seeing you there.
    Shannon, I’ve just read your comment. I’ll pray that, in some way, God will work things out to help you fulfill your conference/writing dreams. And I know it’s trite, but truly I’ve experienced it–sometimes when God closes one door, He opens another.

  3. Brandt Dodson
    Brandt Dodson says:

    Hey Nick,
    I’ve never attended Jerry Jenkins’ conference, but it’s on my schedule for next year.

    I’m glad to hear you’re still writing. I’m a big believer in conferences – and prayer. I’m sure that this lady’s prayers were heard and you’re next book will be an even bigger success.

  4. Ary
    Ary says:

    It was such a pleasure meeting you at the WFS Conference. You may not remember me with all those meeting but I was so blessed by your listening skill and your encouragement. Thank you for finishing off the session in prayer. God bless you and your work.


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