Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Conference Envy

It’s the time of year when many are headed to a specific writer’s conference.  Actually some wonderful conferences are held throughout the year and in many different areas of the United States. It’s been my privilege to attend and teach at a number of them.  From each conference, I learn a great deal, meet many new friends and catch up with long-time friends. These conferences are valuable experiences—particularly if you prepare and use your time wisely. I know they are large investments for each person in terms of the time and financial expense.

Later this week, many of my editorial and writing friends are headed to the Mount Hermon Conference. For the first time, the conference didn’t issue a printed brochure but simply have their information on their website.  It’s the oldest Christian writer’s conference in the country and a place where I’ve had some amazing personal experiences over the years.

Walking among the redwoods, a children’s book editor and I connected. At the time, I was with a missions organization and this publisher had world missions as a part of their mandate for their book line. She asked me to pitch some ideas.  I responded with several possibilities. The follow-up conversations resulted in my first book in 1992.

To my shock and surprise in 1989, I received the Writer of the Year Award at the conference. It’s one of my few writing honors and a treasure to me.

I love walking the grounds at this particular conference. Often I take a short hike to see some large redwood trees in a state park.

This year, I’m not going to this conference. I hope my friends have a wonderful experience at the conference. I’ll admit to a bit of conference envy because this one holds such special memories and experiences in my life as a writer and editor. If you are going, I wish you well.

If you are one of the readers who is not attending the conference, here’s some things to keep in mind:

  • Not everyone within Christian publishing is at this conference.
  • Even the people who are at the conference are some times easier to reach in their offices.
  • I’ve been to this and other conferences and as an editor, you don’t fill your schedule only at these conferences. There are many ways to find books and magazine material the publishing houses.
  • Conferences are for much more than selling product. They are for relationship building and personal growth and other aspects. This type of learning happens at conferences—and many other places.

I’m over my momentary conference envy. I’ve got many other things absorbing my attention—including going to a last minute addition to my schedule: The Ice Escape Conference in Phoenix. I’ll be attending on Saturday and look forward to it.


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