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Conferences: Networking Bonanza

Emily M. Akin, Diana Derringer

Diana Derringer, Emily Akin

Why go to a writers conference? Well, the conventional wisdom is that we hone our craft, meet editors, pitch our work, and network with other writers. Sometimes I think the networking is the most important benefit.

Today I’m sharing some photos from Kentucky Christian Writers Conference 2013. I attend this conference to learn from the speakers and teachers, but I also get ideas and inspiration from other writers.

Diana Derringer (above) and I met at the 2012 conference. Besides being a social worker and a writer, she has served as a conversation partner and friendship family for ESL (English as a Second Language) students.  That experience gave her an idea for her blog content, short devotions based on common American expressions that her students have trouble understanding. Check out Make Hay While the Sun Shines to see what a great idea that is. Her idea gave me an idea, but I can’t share it with you yet.

KCWC network

From left: Mary Gaskins, Emily Akin, Carlton Hughes, Harriet Michael, Judy Sliger

Here’s another photo with a humorous twist. Remember the Sesame Street song, One of These Things Doesn’t Belong Here? Well, the guy in the middle photo-bombed us. He saw someone taking pictures and just had to get in on it. He’s a great asset to the conference, though. He’s Carlton Hughes,  publicity chairman for the conference. Also, he’s professor of communications at Southeast Kentucky Community College, a children’s pastor and an award-winning writer and teacher. He’s been a source of encouragement for many people over the years.

Mary Gaskins, far left, and Judy Sliger, far right, are past KCWC coordinators. Mary is a registered dietitian who writes articles and songs. A former teacher, Judy writes fiction and stories for children.  Harriet Michael, second from right, is a registered nurse and the daughter of missionaries. Harriet was born in Nigeria and spent a number of her childhood years there. She writes devotions and non-fiction articles. Between conferences, we occasionally share our work with each other, knowing we’ll get an honest opinion.

Sue Potts

Sue Potts, Emily Akin

Sue Potts and I live about an hour’s drive apart, but we first met at KCWC. We’ve talked about starting a writers group in our area, but somehow, we’ve never accomplished that. Maybe this year is the year we’ll get it done.

Sharing ideas, worshiping and learning together, encouraging each other, keeping in touch—that’s what conference networking is all about. If you attend a conference without networking, you’re missing out on one of the biggest benefits.

Readers, if you would like to write a Blog4Writers guest post about a conference you have attended, send me a message at


4 Responses to Conferences: Networking Bonanza

  1. Diana Derringer July 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    I agree, Emily, that networking is perhaps the most beneficial. I have certainly gained much from your wisdom, encouragement, and friendship.

  2. Emily Akin July 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Thanks for the kind words, Diana. I’m learning a lot from your blog.

  3. Tracy Crump July 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    What a great looking group of writers. It was nice to see you all again!

  4. Emily Akin July 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    How did you miss being in the pictures? Hmm. We’ll have to remedy that next time.

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