• "... being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on till completion ..." (Philippians 1:6)
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  • Friday, February 24, 2017

    Beginning Writers and Why You Should Go to Writers Conferences

    This post is meant to encourage those who can't quite feel comfortable calling themselves writers yet. The ones who would like to write a book, or even a collection of short stories or poetry, but haven't yet penned one word of it. They've just been thinking about it.

    Where to start then? Find a good writer's critique group and attend a writers conference. And don't be afraid to begin that first chapter. 

    Why should you go to a writers' conference? I'll let my good friend Debbie Wong explain it to you with her own experience.


    I was single, a computer programmer and never published. Why was I attending a Christian writers' conference? Well, I wanted to write. I felt a nudge from God to write. This conference seemed like a good place to start.

    The room buzzed with old friends saying hello and new friends making acquaintances. I didn't know a soul. I found a seat and poured over the schedule for the day. There were teaching tracks for fiction, nonfiction, devotionals, and screenplays. Since my book idea fit in the nonfiction category I decided that was the track for me. 

    So many terms were foreign to me. People lined up to schedule a time to meet with an editor. I didn't know who to meet with or why I would even meet with an editor at this point. I truly felt lost, but I found my way through the morning sessions, then lunch arrived.

    The people around my table began introductions based on a written table prompt. Most were published authors. I shared my book idea and that this was my first conference. The other writers, far superior in ability than I, encouraged me, welcomed me and offered helpful suggestions. I didn't feel insignificant. I felt included. I felt that I belonged. I felt like a writer.

    I met a woman at that first conference named Bev. She happened to be one of the co-leaders of the event. She had writing credentials to fill a two page resume. One thing she didn't have, computer skills. Submitting writing through email and contacting editors through websites had just begun at that time. I had a book idea and no formal training as a writer but I did have computer skills. Bev and I agreed to meet after the conference to mentor one another. She critiqued my writing and I showed her how to use email and Microsoft Word. We became fast friends as well. At the next year's conference, I taught a class on using the computer for writing.

    I now had many published authors as friends. It would be almost ten years before I had the pleasure of joining their ranks. However, I confidently walked into every writers' conference and identified myself as a writer. Publication is wonderful, don't get me wrong, but writers' conferences aren't just for the published. They are for people who share the same passion - the love of writing. We have stories to tell and ideas to share. Sometimes they go no further than the conference. Other times, they are discovered at a conference.

    Never shy away from attending a writer's conference. You may gain a new friend. You will be inspired. Your ideas will be shaped and formed and reformed. You will gain skills you didn't have. You will be surrounded by like-minded people who will applaud your efforts. Whether you are new to writing or been at it for years, find the next conference in your area (or take a road trip) and join in. You won't be disappointed. You will be inspired.


    Debbie Wong is a speaker, singer and author. Her desire is to encourage women to dream again and discover their full potential in Christ. You can find out more about her at www.debbiewong.net or follow her blog at debbiesuewong.wordpress.com.

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