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Mid-South Conference Success, Part 2


Patricia Neely Dorsey posed with her book, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia, after her workshop on writing memoir.

Last week, I posted the first installment on my experience at Mid-South Christian Writers Conference. I need to apologize for leaving the photo of Edie Melson out of that post. I took it with my phone at conference, and I just forgot to add it. If you want to review that post and see Edie’s picture, go here. And now, I’ll continue sharing what I gleaned from the conference.


Nine workshops offered something for fiction and non-fiction writers alike. I attended the following.

  • FREE (or nearly free) Tools Every Writer Should Know About! with Gregg Bridgeman of Olivia Kimbrell Press. He offered a list of free or cheap software and online services that writers can use in writing and marketing. I can’t provide the entire list, but here are the ones that interested me.
    • LibreOffice (free downloadable office suite),
    • ProWritingAid (free and/or premium site that helps you edit your work), and
    • GIMP, free downloadable photo editing software.
  • Creative Memoir Writing by Patricia Neely Dorsey. Patricia uses poems to give her readers a positive glimpse into the Southern way of life, as stated on her website. She pointed out that memoir is not biography, and you don’t have to write a book to share your memories. Her poems are short and simple, but they inspire others to tell their own stories and younger folk to ask questions. I chose this class because I’ve recently considered writing memoir. Patricia made me want to go right home and get started.
  • Scrivener Basics by Patricia Bradley, multi-published fiction author. Scrivener is affordable writing software created by a techie who is also a writer. Bradley uses Scrivener to write her novels, and she swears by it. Others use it for nonfiction books or blog content. The workshop was interesting, but there was not enough time to really cover the subject. She swears by Scrivener, but she says there is a learning curve. A free trial is available on Scrivener here. Also, you can search for tutorials on YouTube (specify Scrivener for Windows or for Mac in your search terms).


Most beginning writers don’t realize how important it is to network with editors, agents, and other writers. Conferences meet this need perfectly. I won’t call names because I don’t want to forget anyone, but the people I have met at conferences have encouraged me and prayed for me. And, I have had the privilege of encouraging and praying for other writers (whom I may never have met without conference). One year, at another conference, I had the opportunity to improve my writing and help others improve theirs when a fellow conferee drafted me into an online critique group. This year, the first person I ran into told me how much she enjoys this blog. And to think I was getting discouraged!

I’ll Be Back

I’m not channeling Schwarzenegger here, but I intend to be back next year for MSCWC. It gets better every time. As I mentioned in the last post, each speaker had something valuable to say to me individually. If you have not attended a conference, don’t hesitate to try it. You will not be lost in the crowd. God knows you’re there and will guide you to the people and experiences that will help you grow as a writer.

Photo credit: Thanks to Pat Luffman Rowland for allowing me to use her photo of Patricia for this post.

Readers, if any of you have attended a recent writers conference, please share one benefit you received by being there. If any of you would like to write a guest post about an experience you had at a conference, please contact me via e-mail at akinemily(at)

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5 Responses to Mid-South Conference Success, Part 2

  1. Crickett Keeth April 2, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    Emily, I really have enjoyed these last two posts on the Midsouth Christian Writer’s Conference. I always seem to struggle to get there, but I’m so glad I went. These conferences have been such an encouragement to me – the teaching, the practical how-to’s, the fellowship and networking. I loved that this year they gave us the chance to meet one-on-one with authors/speakers. That was one of the many highlights of the conference for me. I agree – every year this conference gets better, and I look forward to going back next year. Thank you for your weekly posts. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog.

  2. Emily Akin April 2, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    Glad someone else thinks MSCWC is on a roll. Also appreciate your kind words about this blog.

  3. Tracy Crump April 2, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    It’s always great to see you there, Emily. And your past workshops have always been well received.

  4. Cindy Loven April 5, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

    I had a blast. It was the first conference I have ever attended, and I will be back next year. My mind was on overload by the time I got home. I think I slept more the next week than I had in the last month. I had to rest my brain. 🙂 Thanks to the sponsors of this great conference.

  5. Emily Akin April 5, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

    I’m so glad your first conference experience was a good one. Thanks for commenting on my blog post. I invite you to subscribe if you don’t already. Subscribe box is near the top on the right side of all pages on my website,

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