Are we there yet? My sons used to ask this question often as we traveled to a destination. “It’s taking too long!”

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. It’s finally spring, but I’m not sure we’re there yet. That’s not really why I asked that question, though.

Last weekend, I attended a writers conference and had the opportunity to learn a bit more about the craft of writing. As I looked over the schedule, I realized that many of the courses were repeats for me. I ultimately chose a class on creating lively characters and a class on the art of writing.

I’ve published several books, so I’m not really a beginner, but I can always improve. Like most other vocations, writing doesn’t remain the same. It changes with the times and preferences of the collective “reader.” So, the writer needs to hone their skills and evolve with the industry.

Also, my “word” for 2019? Teachable.

To remain teachable—this can be a daunting task, because I would prefer to think I have arrived. After a long journey, I’m tired and I want to sit down. That’s my preference. I’m done. But I’m not finished. My writing can always improve. My characterization can be better.

Besides all that, the instructors were delightful. I attended the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference. It was kind of a long drive for me, but I’ve made that drive many, many times over the years, so it didn’t really bother me. The Mid-South is a wonderful conference. The people are friendly and welcoming. For a “smallish” but growing conference, they have a lot to offer.

Bob Hostetler’s keynote messages were funny and inspiring. Johnnie Alexander and Patricia Bradley taught the class on creating characters. Vanessa Griggs kept her class laughing and engaged as she shared on the smART of Writing.

coffee, cup, laptop, memeI made new friends and something wonderful happened: I learned a thing or two. That’s always a good and positive thing. When I arrived back home, though, I still didn’t feel like I was there yet. There’s so much more to learn about the craft of writing. I’m not frustrated by it, I’m invigorated. I’m excited about what the future holds.

I’m still “becoming” a writer in many ways. And that’s a wonderful thing too.

If you’re not so very far from Central Kentucky, you might consider the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference coming June 20-22. I’m on the planning committee, so I know this is going to be a good year. Susan May Warren is our keynote speaker, and we have an excellent faculty making plans to help those who want to learn the craft or become better writers. Click the meme below to find out more information:

After the Conference, Writers

Hello, Thursday Morning!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. I promised an update on the writers conference, so here it is–

I’m basking in the glow of another successful Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. Most of us agreed, this was the best one yet.

I had loads of fun and met so many new writers, visited with old friends, and made important connections.  We had a lot of fun moments, like this one:My friends and fellow writers, Shirley Crowder (left) and Harriet Michael (right), like to take an annual photo, and we have yet to accomplish this without being photo-bombed by an illusive introvert. Ha ha! As you can probably guess, our friend, Carlton Hughes is anything but an introvert, and we love when he pops by.

What Now?

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning! We’re expecting a little sunshine today. I’m hopeful as I wait to see if it will happen.  I’ve even arranged my violets to catch a few rays.

While trying to decide what to write about this week, I remembered a quick encounter with a new acquaintance over the weekend. I often run across people who are interested in writing. Many times, as soon as they find out what I do, they bring up a story idea, or tell me they’ve “always wanted to do that.” But, they don’t know how to begin.

As a member of the planning committee for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, I’m in a position to help them. A writers conference is a great place for brand new writers to get information and training. Among the valuable things you’ll receive, is fellowship with other writers.

Yes, writers conferences require an investment. A smaller, local conference usually costs less, and you don’t always need to pay for a hotel, unless you have a long drive home, or just want to stay nearby.

Many conferences also offer tuition help. Check their website for information.

How do you know if it’s a good conference? Sometimes, you can find enough information on the website. Many conferences have reviews and testimonials posted. But the best way is to look at the faculty and keynote speaker. If you’re not familiar with any of the names, look them up.

Another important consideration: what classes do they offer? Does anything pique your interest? For instance, if you’re planning to write a memoir, or a devotional, do they offer nonfiction workshops?

Where do you begin? Check the internet–Google “writing conferences”–and you’ll get a lot of suggestions. But be specific. If you’re interested only in romance writing or speculative fiction, input those words to narrow your search. Also, a good writers magazine will list conferences and make suggestions.

If you’re looking for a good faith-based conference in the mid-south, there’s a one-day conference near Memphis, Tennessee. Here’s the link to the website: Mid-South Christian Writers Conference. It’s a one-day conference, happening Saturday, March 17. They have a Friday night meet-and-greet listed as well.

The Kentucky Christian Writers Conference is a two-day conference, June 22-23, with a meet-and-greet in the evening on June 21. It’s held in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. They offer fiction and nonfiction education and encouragement, as well as marketing, business, and technology.

Why do you need a writers conference? As I mentioned before, the opportunity to meet other writers makes a good conference fun. Also, there will be opportunities to meet agents, editors, and mentors. You’ll gain knowledge of the industry, and be encouraged to pursue your dreams.

A good regional conference is the first stepping stone on a journey that may lead to your destiny. The important thing is to go with expectation. Make yourself friendly, and you’ll gain more than knowledge.

When you’re ready for something bigger, check out a conference like the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference ACFW, being held in Nashville, Tennessee later this year.

What now? If you can’t afford a conference, these conferences have Facebook pages. Like their pages and get involved with other writers. There are so many good writing blogs, where you can learn the tools of the craft of writing. I’ve listed several good writing blogs below.

What now? The important thing is, pursue your dream. Write. Get information and learn the craft.

The Write Conversation

Almost an Author

Southern Writers Magazine (blog)

Inspired Prompt

There are so many more!