Four little days packed quite a punch! Here is my attempt to summarize my experience.
Thursday February 28
- 3:30am This is way too early for me, but I’m carpooling with three other amazing writers and it’s worth getting up at a crazy hour to chase dreams. I’m trying to make sure I have everything and sneak out the door to meet Natasha for our drive to Mary Susan’s house. My cute girl woke up, cried and asked me not to leave. That didn’t make for a great start. I gave her extra hugs and kisses and told her I’d be back before she knew it. The hardest part is leaving my three loves.
- 4:20 am Natasha is waiting downstairs and we load up the car in the dark parking lot.
- 4:45 am We arrived at Mary-Susan’s house to meet her and Elizabeth for our carpool north. Farewells to puppies, car loaded up, and we’re on the road. We’re all tired and the drive is pretty quiet for a car with four women.
- 7:00 am Two hours on the road and the sun is finally up! Time for some coffee, tea, and conversation.
- 9:20 am We arrived at Lake Yale to check in to our rooms and register. We missed the session for first time conferees.
- 10:15 am Opening session starts with worship. Mary Susan leans over laughing and whispers to me that it’s only 10 am. It seems impossible, but the day is just getting started.
Sally Stuart – Keynote speaker
She talked about sacrifices in our writing life. My favorite, we must sacrifice the Ordinary. We must look for un-reproducible experiences in our lives. Look for opportunities to learn or do something you’ve never done before, new routes, new destinations, new opportunities… Curiosity makes us good writers.
Blythe Daniel – Reading and Understanding Contracts
This is a class I think all authors should take. I need this one recorded so I can go over it again and again. “An author needs to know how to counter some of the language that protects the publisher with much of the burden on the author.”
Steven James – Keynote speaker Thursday night
How can I sum up the energy of Steven James? Baby shark! Doot-Doot, Doot-Doot! Baby Shark! Doot-Doot, Doot-Doot! I guess you had to be there…
Friday March 1
The rest of our conference days begins early with breakfast at 7:30 each morning. The coffee is free flowing and that helps! I’m thankful for the chance to take in all the beauty of the conference center at Lake Yale.
Marti Pieper – Author, Speaker
Our effectiveness comes when we are in close connection with God. Live an inspired life.
- Getting ready for agent/editor appointments, “Mary Susan, do I have anything in my teeth?” “No. Do I?” (not so inspired, but completely necessary)
Crystal Bowman – Author, Speaker
My continuing class through the weekend was Writing For Children with author Crystal Bowman.
Crystal broke down her class into the many different formats of children’s books. We took time to study board books, Pre-school picture books, picture books, early readers, and writing for the inspirational market. Here is a tiny portion of my take aways from Crystal’s class: When we write for children we must remember that “Children live in the present.”
“The beauty of answering the call to write is that God will put those books into the hands of those who need them.” I think trusting that God will use our writing comes with what she said about what we must do when we write, “We write and then let it go and give it to God. We are missionaries through our writing.”
Alton Gansky – Author, Keynote speaker
“Your writing career is a joke from beginning to end! Before you get upset, let me explain…” This didn’t sound so bad when he explained to us the definition of the word joke and how it pertains to our writing life.
- 12:00-1:00 pm Lunch, time for catching up with Mary Susan and sitting with writers, authors, editors, and agents. The banquet room was set with tables labeled with the editor’s, agent’s, or author’s names and you could choose where to sit. Although it seemed intimidating at first, the meals were casual and friendly. I never heard anyone selling or pitching ideas at the tables. It was really a great time to relax and enjoy the good southern cooking together.
- 1:30-8:30 pm Three more classes, dinner, and a keynote address. I took a small break to get some fresh air and wander around with my camera.
- Our Lovely South Florida Word Weavers Critique Group
Saturday March 2
From Crystal’s I Can Read, Otter and Owl series. My little girl loves this book! Thank you.
Dan Walsh – Author, Keynote speaker
Be faithful to serve the Lord in the little things
Sally Apokedak – Agent
I enjoyed her class Stop Boring Your Readers: Make Your Plodding Pros March, Skip, Trip, and Tumble
Write in a way that’s memorable. Look for ways to spin cliche´. Delight the reader.
What a small world. My Grandma lives out west in Colorado and attends the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. I met my Grandma’s editor, Eddie here at FCWC. I have her book, Dare to Live: Devotions for Those Over the Hill, Not Under It! on my Kindle iPad app. The screen has a glare, but that’s her sweet book I’m holding. Check it out if you have time.
That’s me getting cozy by a real fire place in Florida. It’s the little things!
Sunday March 3
The last day! Taking it all in till the last drop, every word of inspiration, teaching, and encouragement…
I love the Florida Christian Writers Conference and the opportunities it provides for seasoned writers or those just starting out on the journey. There is something for everyone. This is my fourth time attending. I’m grateful Billie Wilson started this conference 26 years ago. She was missed this year, but I’m thankful Eva Marie Everson and Mark Hancock have accepted the role of Directors of this conference and continue to inspire and equip writers for sharing God’s message. They did an amazing job!
Marti Pieper – Author, Speaker
Pass on what God has given to others who need encouragement.
Rachel Hauck – Author
Use the power of your pen, make a difference for someone else. When you pour out your words you are pouring out a fragrant offering to God.
Time for a couple more photos before it’s time to go! It’sbeen a great weekend!
My room-mate Mary Susan
Karen Whiting -author, friend, encourager