Writing for the Soul – Conference Whys and Wows

My investment in the 2010 Writing for the Soul conference was well worth it. The conference provided great speakers, inspirational stories, professional instruction, creative motivation, many new friends, and doors of opportunity.

Below are four reasons why I chose this specific writers conference among the multitude of other offerings:

1. Inspiration/Faith-based Conference – When shelling out hard-earned money for a conference, I believe the subject matter you’re interested in should be your number one priority. Although I hope to avoid falling into one specific genre with my fiction and non-fiction writing, my current projects do involve stories with a bent on inspiration and faith. That doesn’t mean they’re “churchy” stories, but rather they inspire something common in almost all great stories–hope.

2. Widely Recognized Professionals – I knew this conference was legit by the list of speakers, instructors, agents, and editors in attendance. I wanted to hear their stories, their writing journeys. Writers like James Scott Bell were among those teaching continuing education classes. Mr. Bell’s background is very much of interest to me since he writes both inspirational fiction and general market fiction. Some writers pick one or the other…I have ideas for both camps. It’s very important to learn from those who are successful in your genre(s) of interest,  and especially those with varied styles–this will expand your writer’s toolkit.

3. Appointments with Editors, Agents, Mentors – Writing for the Soul offered up to three 15-minute appointments with book and magazine editors, book agents, and mentors (established writers who offered their time for mentoring). I’ve been working on short devotionals for an international magazine, and I met with one of the magazine’s editors at the conference. I not only gathered a few publication secrets that are not listed in their writer’s guidelines, but I also received an invitation to submit my devotionals directly to the editor (as opposed to the standard mail-in method). What a tremendous opportunity.

4. Location – If you’re on a tight budget, then location matters. It was just my luck that the 2010 conference was located in Denver, about 20 minutes from my home. However, this conference was so good that I would have traveled as far as my budget allowed. I could have commuted every day, but I chose to stay at the hotel and immerse myself. Avoiding traffic, getting extra sleep, and being on-time for all of the activities were worth the hotel expense.

I’ll leave you with a few photos:

Host and NYT best-selling author Jerry B. Jenkins autographing books he was giving away:

Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales, signing books:

Yours truly getting a few minutes to speak with one of my favorite non-fiction authors, Philip Yancey. If you want to read books that challenge conventional spirituality (and provide answers), read his stuff:

One half of the “appointment room” for meeting with editors, agents, and mentors. A lot of sweating writers anxiously awaited their turn at proposing readied manuscripts:

Steinway artist Randall Atcheson mesmerized us with unforgettable performances:

Watch for updates for the 2011 Writing for the Soul conference at the Christian Writers Guild website:   http://www.christianwritersguild.com

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