Hubby and I just got back from the 13th Annual East Texas Christian Writers Conference in Marshall, Texas. I’ve known about this conference for years, but I’ve never been. I’ve often considered attending but always talked myself out of it. This year I noticed that a favorite writer would be presenting. He was also there in 2011 but I let that opportunity pass. This time I had the feeling if I didn’t go, it might be my last chance to meet him. More about that on Wednesday.
The event was held on the East Texas Baptist University grounds. It’s a beautiful campus. We registered and connected with my friend Linda Yezak, author of The Cat Lady’s Secret as well as other books. I also finally met Vickie Phelps, an email friend from my home town. Vickie’s debut novel, Postmark From The Past, releases November 6th. Here’s a cover pic.
After visiting awhile, hubby and I went to our pre-conference session with author Frank Ball who spoke on Story Power. I took nine pages of notes! Here’s Frank’s website. Lots of good stuff here.
The next day we attended six—yes SIX—sessions. The day was a rush of great information and very little time to visit and network, but I did meet a couple of people I hope to keep in touch with. Here’s a short rundown on my sessions.
Caleb Pirtle III spoke on The Magic Power of Storytelling. Pirtle is a former travel editor for Southern Living Magazine, a screenwriter with three motion picture and TV movie credits, and the author of more than 60 published books. Take a look at his marketing company, Venture Galleries.
Harold Rawlings spoke on Writing Christian Nonfiction. Dr. Rawlings, author of Trial by Fire, travels the country speaking to churches and schools about how the English Bible came into print. He was fascinating and encouraged all of us to try nonfiction. He says, “Truth and accuracy are the foundation upon which every nonfiction project rests.”
Bruce Gourley’s topic was Writing, Publishing and Marketing in the Digital Age. I have to confess I didn’t take many notes. We got way too techie and I zoned out, but going to Gourley’s website—wow! I sure wish he’d spoken on research.
Writers’ conferences are a necessity for all writers. You learn, but more than that, you rub shoulders with like-minded people. There’s nothing more inspiring than congregating with a crowd that loves the same thing you love—books and writing. But conferences are all different. If you’ve never attended one, do so, but take a close look at each speaker, Google them and look over their websites BEFORE you send in your registration dollars. Make sure there’s something there for you.
I wasn’t disappointed in The East Texas Christian Writers Conference at all and I got way more than I bargained for—but I went to meet one man and I’ll tell you about that meeting on Wednesday. I hope you’ll tune in.