WRITE: Top Ten Perks of the Florida Christian Writers Conference
What do writers do? They write.
On March 3, I returned home from teaching and serving as chaplain for the 2013 Florida Christian Writers Conference to a busy season of (you guessed it) writing. Now that I’ve finished two major assignments with several more ahead, I’m coming up to breathe long enough to share my Top Ten Perks of the Florida Christian Writers Conference.
10. Atmosphere: One of our prayers going into this year’s FCWC was for its atmosphere. Conference founder Billie Wilson established a precious tradition of encouragement, worship, and gentle humor. This year, co-directors Eva Marie Everson and Mark Hancock carried that out in their own inimitable style. And the stylings of worship artist Rob Gorini of Nonparell fueled our artistic flames.
9. Scholarships: Author and friend to writers Cec Murphey donated scholarships to help writers of color attend this year’s event (thank you, Cec). And the conference itself gave nearly $15,000 worth of scholarship money to those who applied. Please remember this if you’d like to attend the conference but have concerns about the cost.
8. Contest and Awards Banquet: The 2013 FCWC writing contest had a fresh look. Writers submitted entries before the conference and were honored during a first-class awards banquet on the final evening.
7. Location, Location, Location: Central Florida in March seems like a warm breath of heaven for those from less temperate climates. And the Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center, with trees laden in Spanish moss and breathtaking views of the lake, makes for a matchless setting.
6. Bookstore and Photography: The easy-access conference bookstore offered many advantages including a flash drive of all workshop handouts. And the official conference photographer not only offered a CD of conference photos but also took headshots (a common author need) upon request.
5. Workshops and Continuing Classes: The conference offered nine continuing classes (including a fabulous workshop for teens) which met every morning, all taught by experienced professionals. In addition, conferees had their choice of sixty-plus workshops on topics ranging from social media to time management to finding your writing voice.
3. Expert Feedback: The FCWC provided ample opportunities for writers to meet with top agents, editors, and authors in fifteen-minute appointments or at more informal lunch and dinner meetings. For an extra fee, conferees also had the opportunity to submit their work for an advance critique by a faculty member of their choice.
2. Critique Groups: This unique element of the FCWC came about through its ownership by Word Weavers International. Critique groups met each night to introduce Word Weavers methods and give conferees the opportunity to experience a working critique group.
1. Inspiration: The unique combination of a first-class conference in a fabulous location with speakers and teachers who all pointed to the Giver of all good gifts more than laid the foundation for the conference theme, INSPIRE.
The 2013 Florida Christian Writers Conference blessed, challenged, and inspired me. I hope you’ll join us February 26-March 2, 2014 for next year’s conference!
Did you attend this year’s Florida Christian Writers Conference? Do you have any additions to my list? Feel free to share in the comments below.