“Secrets of Best-Selling Authors…They Don’t Go It Alone”
—Tosca Lee, SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference, 2017
Last weekend, I had the wonderful–and life-changing–opportunity to attend the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference!
(So prepare for a long and detailed post all about it ^-^ )
While there, I took a morning track with the fabulous Tosca Lee, and that quote of hers in particular stood out to me. It just so perfectly encompassed why Writers’ Conferences are so vital.
But, first off…what is a writers conference?
Just yesterday, I told someone I’d spent the weekend at a writer’s conference, and was met by a blank stare and literally asked to repeat myself three times. 😉
But, it’s a foreign concept to those who haven’t been involved in the writing community for a long time, so just to quickly clarify:
A writer’s conference is an event for writers where they can connect with agents, editors and published authors. There are usually teaching sessions on all aspects of the publishing industry–from writing craft to getting a publishing contract. It’s a community of people who process the world in story, and they come together to provide support, encouragement and guidance.
It’s one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had 🙂 Hard to explain to someone who is not a writer, but I always think of it like that scene in the final Narnia book, where the Pevensies meet up with Digory, Polly, Eustace and Jill. All the others who have gone into Narnia. They share a unique experience and perspective that no one else quite can.
That’s what it is like to connect with other writers at a writers’ conference. They’re your people. Your Narnia kindred.
And that’s why it’s so important to not “go it alone” as a writer. Because it takes our people–our community–to move forward. To help us grow, and to expand our knowledge of what it really means to be a writer. To use our stories to make a difference.
And to remind us why we write in the first place.
Plus, its also just a whole lot of fun 😀
Kathy Ide did a phenomenal job directing the conference! Her grace and joy set the tone for the whole weekend.
While at the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference in Biola, I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people! Including my soon-to-be agent 🙂
In case you didn’t hear, I recently signed a contract to be represented by Tessa Emily Hall, of the Hartline Literary Agency. I met Tessa at SoCal!
Which is a great example of all the amazing contacts you’ll make at a writers’ conference 🙂
And now…let me share a bunch of dorky pictures of all the fun we had at the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference! 🙂
Not only did I have a ton of fun with these ladies, but I respect each of them so much, you have no idea! It was kind of surreal just chatting or getting boba with these authors that have inspired my own writing. 🙂
Jill Williamson is the queen of YA speculative fiction, and her world-building skills are astounding. I’ve learned so much just reading her work! And her beautiful heart is just as far-reaching as the many worlds she’s created 🙂
Shan Dittemore, of course, has taught me so much about supernatural fiction, and is a fiery, sweet soul. I had the pleasure of connecting with her on Facebook a while ago. We’ve chatted back and forth quite a bit, and her input on writing a series revolving around angels/demons has been invaluable.
Tosca Lee–this woman is a force of nature! So much wisdom and talent, yet abounding with kindness and willing to share it. Her words of encouragement will stay with me aways.
Nadine Brandes! I’ve been one of Nadine’s Ninja’s for a few years now, and our Ninja Leader is every bit as amazing in person. With a gift for telling stories that strengthen your faith in unexpected ways. Plus, she is one of the most genuine and generous hearts I know.
And my dear Ashley Olsen (Townsend)! From our meeting in the bathroom, bonding over how dastardly far away the mirrors were, Ashley and I were pretty much immediate kindred spirits. Both published as teens, both with a passion for telling stories that touch souls, both with wild imaginations and impulsive personalities. It has been such a blessing to connect with someone who discovered their passion at a young age and link arms with her as we follow into whatever the Storyteller has planned for us!
If you can’t tell–this conference not only meant lots of fun, but also so much growth. Each of these women has impacted my writing journey and touched my spiritual one too. Becuase they don’t just write because it’s a passion–they write because its their purpose. Becuase they believe that the Storyteller of our lives is glorified when they spread His hope. And in seeing how they live every day with that purpose, I couldn’t help but be encouraged to do the same.
That’s ultimately what a writers’ conference–especially a Christian writers’ conference–is about: telling the stories He has placed in our hearts, in hopes that they can touch someone else’s.
And that is a concept powerful enough to change the world. Becuase when you are writing for the glory of the creator of the world–incredible things will happen.
Have you ever attended a writers’ conference? Were you at the SoCal Conference? What was your favorite part?