I’ve heard several people in the writing industry say that Write to Publish on the beautiful Wheaton College campus is their favorite conference and now I know why. I truly have to give it 5 stars. It was an amazing experience and I am tired but still trying to digest all that I learned and all that God said to me. I met some new writing friends and I love that we are all on the same rhythm and beat with two very big things in common: our writing and our love for God.
The speakers and teachers were extremely informational and inspirational. I enjoyed the Fiction Toolbox with Susan Baganz tremendously. It was a good reminder of the basics and I learned some new things as well (such as an online software that you can download your manuscript to and look for certain issues). Susan, who is funny, endlessly energetic and knowledgeable as both a writer and editor, wins big kudos in the connection category. Thank you, Susan, for taking the time to pray aloud for me and give me a big hug. We have more in common than you know and I look forward to possibly chatting about that more someday.
The acquisition editors and agents were down-to-earth and encouraging to everyone. We were told early on that stopping them in the hallway to talk/pitch is an okay process at Write to Publish. Thanks to Terry Whalin who wandered by when I was sitting in the auditorium and cared enough to ask what I am working on. We worked together on The Writer’s View (Yahoo discussion group) as I wrote their newsletter for a couple of years and I was able to share with him that his book was the one I pulled off the shelf when I was ready to write my book proposal. I don’t think he remembers The Writer’s View connection (and my third name was “Heath”) but no worries. I know he meets a ton of people. Later, he taught an interesting class about using Goodreads. Definitely time to up my game on that one. I also enjoyed the class on sales funnels for your book from Lee Warren. He maintains a lot of experience in the industry and has a wide range of knowledge on both sales funnels and markets that need writers that I never even thought of. I now have a handy-dandy list!
Our speakers for the General Sessions, banquet etc were talented and kept us alternately laughing and musing. Bob Hostetler hit me hard over the head a few times with his words and reminded me that often God has chosen us BECAUSE of our weaknesses and to not let our fears take over and let Him down on what He is calling us to do (I almost did not attend this conference due to my fear). He seemed to feel that each one of us at the conference are called, talented and there for a reason. It was a common theme throughout the week that we are the best people to write on our particular passions/topics. We are each unique and no one else can write like we do. Michelle Medlock Adams carries humor like a sidearm, but is sweet as well and had all of us not only in stitches but nodding our heads and agreeing with her points. I would have to say after hearing these wonderful people all week, I am reminded that no matter where I go (or don’t go), or no matter where my project lands (or perhaps it won’t land), it is my impact on other people that makes the difference and I do that now and wherever I go.
Cynthia Ruchti led worship and it was a beautiful time of reflection and closeness to God. God used her each day to love on me and even late in the conference (this AM), had me in tears as she gave me yet another indication that I am to go forward with my book topic and try to reach the nation (this was the 12th “nudge” from various people in three days!). It was only a half day today so when I awoke, I figured it would be a low-key and perhaps a low-impact day. I was wrong. I sit here stunned, amazed and grateful just like the other days.
Thanks to Lin Johnson and Jane Rubietta who organize this amazing conference every single year. I can only imagine the workload. I can’t believe I didn’t attend before now, but I am trusting that God’s time is always right. By the way, next year’s conference is June 19-22. Join me there?