Blue Ridge Writers Conference

The mountains in Asheville, North Carolina are beautiful in the morning. Crisp green in clear mountain air. Clouds splash across the blue sky in delicate brush strokes.

Before classes even began, I was energized. Talking with other writers at meals and as we stroll the forested grounds of the Lifeway Conference Center will do that.

Everyone was enthused to be here. Seeing and hearing the nervous anxiety of those about to pitch to editors and agents reminds me of the risks we take to put our writing out there for others to examine.

I did not plan to pitch when I went to the conference. But through His divine connections, I met with the Ramona Richards, fiction editor of Abingdon Press. I stumbled though an explanation of my current project and she asked for a proposal. A big thanks to DiAnn Mills and Eva Marie Everson for being obedient to His prompting.

I connected with old friends, spent time with my mentor, DiAnn Mills, and started new relationships. Looking back, I can see how the Father guided my class selection. Not only did I learn more about my craft, I met faculty who provided more than knowledge. They gave encouragement and insight into who I am as a writer.

And the schedule provided times to write and to spend time with my Lord in this peaceful setting where He rejuvenated me spirit, soul, and body.

Blue Ridge takes me out of the urban, self-contained hotel or conference center to walk in fresh air between buildings and classes, to let the subtle beauty of His creation permeate me; to step away from the schedule and enjoy the setting and draw peace and inspiration from it, to hear Him speak to me.

Which are your favorite conferences? What conference do you want to go to but haven’t yet?


9 Responses to Blue Ridge Writers Conference

  1. V.V. Denman May 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    This will be my first year at the ACFW Conference, and I’m looking forward to it. The only other conference I’ve attended is the NTCW conference which was excellent. The Blue Ridge location sounds amazing. Maybe I can work my way up to that one.

  2. Henry May 26, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    I’ll be at ACFW, too. There are some really good conferences. NTCW is an excellent learning conference because it doesn’t have the pressure of pitching to agents and editors.

  3. Janet K Brown May 26, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Different conferences = different strengths. ACFW gave more spiritual help for my writing. Blue Ridge enlarged my view of the mission of writing. OWFI brought me into contact with many small presses & large publishing companies & I experienced help from both. Hard to pick a favorite. Also, you network with different colleagues at different ones. That’s the only 3 I’ve attended except the FHL mini-conference. For a 4 hr conference, it was great.

  4. Henry May 26, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Very true, Janet. And each conference can change from year to year, giving me something different than the year before. That’s why I think it’s helpful to pray and seek His guidance about which conferences to attend, which classes to take, who to sit with at meals, who to seek appointments with. I’m always amazed at how He brings new people across my path at each conference.

  5. TNeal May 26, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Henry, your experience at Blue Ridge sounds inviting. My only experience has been the two ACFW conferences I’ve attended. The opportunity to pitch face-to-face is one advantage of attending a conference but the conversations with those in publishing (writers, editors, agents) are, for me, the most precious aspect of any writer’s conference. I think CWG’s conference each February tops the current list of writing conferences I’d like to try. Thanks for the good word–Tom

  6. Henry May 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Hi Tom. CWG’s conference, Writing For the Soul, ranks as my all time favorite. It’s the one I make sure to get to every year. And it 2013, it will be held at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Mountains and crisp winter air. And great people to be with.

  7. DiAne Gates May 28, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Henry, this was my first time at Blue Ridge and the air was indeed super-charged with creativity from all the artists, writers, editors, publishers, and agents. The moment I stepped from the car a peace and energy from the Spirit overwhelmed me.

    Ridgecrest for me is holy ground and the Smokie Mountains are one of God’s masterpieces. An added bonus was a tour of the Biltmore Mansion. Spectacular for this Texas country girl.

    I’ve attended NTCW and ACW in Dallas and last year I attended Write-to-Publish at Wheaton. They were good, but Blue Ridge is already marked on my calendar for next year. (cliche alert) “God willing and the creek don’t rise.”

    DiAne Gates

  8. Marney McNall May 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    So glad to have met you at Blue Ridge. Being in the mountains helped ease my jitters about pitching. All you had to do was go outside and breathe deep. I’d definitely go back to this conference.

    I haven’t been to ACFW, but would like to go, God willing. I’m just happy there are so many GOOD choices available. What a blessing.

  9. Henry May 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Hi Marney,
    I really enjoy how God brings new people into my life at every conference. It’s a pleasure to see these divine appointments play out over time.

    I agree — the mountains make Blue Ridge special. I think they give it a relaxed atmosphere as we marvel at the eonders of his creation.

    If you do go to ACFW, watch for me. I’ll be there as well.

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