Last Saturday, I attended Mid-South Christian Writers Conference in Collierville, Tennessee (east of Memphis). This one-day conference is sponsored by Byhalia (MS) Christian Writers group and supported by several other writers groups in the Memphis area. Last I heard, there were 99 people registered. New this year was a meet-and-greet reception on Friday night, which was well attended. Another new feature for every attendee was one private appointment with a faculty member or club member in various areas of expertise.
I missed the Friday event and the panel discussion at the end, but I’d like to share what I got out of the parts of conference I did attend. Can you believe it? I got so much out of it that I will use two blog posts to tell you how I benefitted from the featured speaker, the workshops, and the networking.
Keynote Speaker Delivers Excellent Advice
I was feeling pretty strung out when I got there because I drove from home that morning (2 ½ hours). I had been talking negatively to myself during the drive. I questioned why I was going to the conference because I haven’t submitted any freelance pieces recently. In fact, the only writing I have done since the first of the year was for the local magazine I’m associated with. I did not even request an appointment with a faculty member because I had nothing new to share.
But keynote speaker, Edie Melson, reminded me of several truths about Christian writing. She speaks from experience because she was co-director of Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and recently became director. Melson has been a freelance writer for many years and now has several books published. She said a lot of things in the two keynote addresses, but here are the things that spoke to me:
- Don’t say you don’t have time to write. If you wait until you “have time,” you will never write anything.
- Writing is a journey. You must take it one step at a time and leave the rest to God.
- Don’t feel guilty for spending money on conferences. God has called you to write, and conferences are part of what you need to do to get your work published.
- And, this must have been directed to me alone: “You don’t have to try to fill every need that comes to your attention.”
- Stop the negative self-talk. (See! I had been doing that on the drive to conference).
- After conference, sort out what you’ve learned, the inspiration you’ve received, and what it all means to you. (Doing that right now).
- Have an investing mindset. With every piece you write, every conference you attend, you are investing in your career as a writer. Investing means you expend resources and effort with the expectation that you will profit in the future.
She said a lot more, but the above are things that resonated with me.
Readers, if any of you were in attendance at MSCWC and want to share something special that you got from the conference, please share in the comments. Or, if you want to write a guest post, contact me at akinemily(at)gmail.com.
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