Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Write to Publish conference in Chicago for the first time, so I wanted to share some pictures from there and some thoughts on conferences in general with you. Please add your comments below and tell us about your favorite conference experiences!
The classes and meetings with editors and agents are all very helpful, but my two favorite parts of Christian conferences are the worship services and all the wonderful people to meet and fellowship with.
Marty Nystrom, who composed “As the Deer Panteth for the Water” and many other Bible-based praise songs, was our worship leader at WTP. He did a great job of focusing our minds and hearts on Christ and letting Him work through us instead of focusing on ourselves.
Mary DeMuth whose site you can check out at http://www.marydemuth.com/ was our keynote speaker each evening. She gave several examples of tough real-life experiences God brought her through and which she has shared in her writing, and encouraged us to “infuse truth in our writing” by going with Jesus into “that tunnel of healing” where “He will go with you and grieve with you and walk out hand in hand with you.”
I am sharing some pictures of some of the great writing friends I met at WTP, some for the first time, but we felt like “kindred spirits” from the first moment. In the top picture I am with Lanita Boyd and Jill Orr, two of my new friends whom I spent a lot of time with. Lanita only lives about an hour from me, so she invited me to ride up to Chicago with her. We met Jill our first day there. She was another “newbie” to the conference, so Lanita kindly mentored both of us.
One of the favorite things Lanita, Jill and Marjean Brooks and I did was visit The Wade Center on the edge of the Wheaton campus. This stone and brick home surrounded by an English garden houses many of the works of C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, J.R.R. Tolkien and four other authors. It also contains C.S. Lewis’s desk where he wrote and a wardrobe from his home that was built by his own grandfather. The wardrobe is filled with fur coats like the one in “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” so I am sharing a picture of myself and Marjean ready to go inside and visit the land of Narnia. If you are in Chicago, this is a place you should check out for sure!
Another picture is of Millie Samuelson, my suite-mate (each dorm suite has two separate bedrooms with a shared bath in between) and a new friend Emily Downs. Emily and I both write fiction, so shared many classes together. I had met Millie at the last ACFW conference, so was glad to see her familiar face when I first arrived! Check out Millie’s site at http://www.milliesbooks.org/ to learn more about her books and the various places she has lived such as China!
There were several ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) members at WTP also, and some of us met one evening for supper. From L to R we have Kenny Noble, Millie, Deb Read, Lisa Lickel and myself. Several of us were in the great fiction workshop taught by Jeff Gerke. Check out his brilliant ideas at http://www.wherethemapends.com/
Posting about the WTP conference has made me look forward to the ACFW conference in Denver in September. Hope to see many of you there. If you are not familiar with the BEST Christian fiction writers’ organization and conference, hurry on over to http://www.acfw.com/ and join us!