When you've had great success at a writers conference, it makes sense to want to return. So I'm looking forward, in about six weeks, to return to the Florida Christian Writers Conference.
It's been ten years since I've been able to attend, but my memories remain strong. For years, when I was acquiring articles for Moody magazine, there were two annual conferences whose invitations I was able to accept: Mount Hermon and Florida.
While the Mount Hermon event deserved its reputation as the country's top Christian writers conference, for me the Florida conference was consistently more successful in meeting my most important reason for attending: developing and acquiring writers.
Shortly after I first arrived at the Florida conference, I was handed a stack of potential articles that conferees had submitted for critiquing. As I worked my way through the pile, four articles stood out: two by Karen and two by Elizabeth. The pieces needed work but showed great potential, so I made abundant markings in the margins and looked forward to meeting the writers.
Turns out that Karen and Elizabeth had come the previous year as newbies. Rather than being overwhelmed, they took copious notes, bought recordings of the sessions, and worked like Trojans to get their writing ready to show to editors the next year. That was when I came in.
I got to meet them, learn their stories, and coach them in their craft. And after a few years I counted them among my go-to writers—people I was sure to approach when I needed someone I could trust to pull off a particular article.
As I count the days to the March 1 to 4 event at the Lake Yale Conference Center in Leesburg, Florida, I hope to meet another Karen and another Elizabeth. There's nothing like a face to face meeting with a writer for building rapport, for coaching, and for brainstorming.
Such elite, emerging writers at any conference are few. But they're always there, and I long to meet them. But just as important are the writers with potential, but whose craft is not yet at the level I seek. Especially for their benefit, I'll also e teaching three workshops:
--Is Your Manuscript Ready to Edit? (on checking if a piece really accomplishes your goals)
--Teaching With Your Story (on using narratives in place of a didactic approach)
--Manuscript Formatting Shortcuts (on easy ways to dress your manuscript for success)
I hope to meet you there. Even if your name isn't Karen.