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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer's Conference

In a few short weeks I'll be heading out to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference where I will be on staff, representing WhiteFire Publishing as an acquisitions editor. This conference holds a special place in my heart, and so I wanted to take a few moments to share with you about it.

We pause for a commercial break....just kidding.

Blue Ridge is special to me for a number of reasons. Two years ago at this time I had never been to a writers conference. The idea scared the heck out of me, but I had been told repeatedly it was something I had to do if I wanted a writing career. Of all the conferences advertised online, Blue Ridge looked the most appealing with its relaxed mountain setting. In March of 2009, I had met a random Christian writer from Roanoke at a book festival, and so Allison and I decided we would bite the bullet together and attend Blue Ridge. Surely even for a die-hard introvert such as myself the conference couldn't be a complete nightmare with a roommate in tow.

Along the drive I followed the tips I had been given about attending conferences. I listened to worship music and prayed that God would direct my paths during the week. When I arrived hours before my security blanket Allison, the mountain scenery was every bit as gorgeous and relaxing as I had hoped. I braved a tour all on my own with business cards in hand, and within the first hour had already made a handful of friends. Allison joined me. We attended dinner and the opening meeting, and by bed time I realized--I had come home.

This conference was my mother ship!!!

After 38 years of walking the planet as a virtual alien, I had found my people. I wasn't shy in this setting. I could talk to anyone. I had more in common with that strange 65-year-old guy at the dinner table than with most of the women at my church. What fun! And the week just got better from there. I found my first agent. I figured out what was still wrong with my novel--enabling me to fix it before sending to said agent and therefore wow her. I was inspired by the speakers. I spent amazing time hiking and chilling in the prayer gardens next to the cool, gurgling mountain stream (okay, I admit it, sometimes in the cool, gurgling mountain stream ;) God even opened unexpected doors for me to minister to others.

By the time I came home I was brimming with energy and my career was at a whole new place. My husband said it was the best $500 he ever spent (oh, did I forget to mention this is one of the most affordable conferences around?)

So if you are a writer in any genre in need of encouragement, instruction, networking opportunities, spiritual refreshment, or even just a lot of fun, I recommend that you check out Blue Ridge this year.

What are you waiting for? I mean now...


  1. This post resonated with me Dina, thanks. I loved what you said about "38 years of walking the planet as a virtual alien" - I get this!!! Somebody said to me the other day "I like that you're curious. Writers are meant to be curious!" THANK YOU! I'm not a freak, I'm just one of a particular (and peculiar) brand of humanity known as Artists.
    I'll be attending my first Writer's Conference later this year, and I'm super-nervous but also super-excited. I'm looking forward to that feeling, as you say, or "coming home".

  2. You'll love it Megan. Which one are you going to? I'll also be at the Philly conference and ACFW.

  3. Dina sorry it's been so long in replying...good intentions, Easter and a few other bits and pieces.
    I've been planning on going to a small one in Sacramento in October, but although I've emailed the organisers a couple of times to confirm that it's still happening nobody's got back to me, which is really disheartening.

    So, a question again for you:
    if I was to pick another writer's conference to go to (late this year or next year) in California (I've got friends there to stay with...I'm not traveling all the way to the US and not seeing them!) what conference would you recommend? Thanks : )

  4. Megan, there's a Mt. Hermon conference, which I've heard is good, but it just finished for this year. I know my publisher will at the Oregon Christian Writer's Conference in August. That looks like it's going to have some great teachers, agents, and editors.

  5. Thanks Dina : )
    Hmmm. Might be Mount Hermon then. That'll give me a whole year to get used to the enormity of the idea!

  6. Mount Hermon is very well know and respected for sure. Not sure about the small one in Sacramento.