In February 2016 I began searching writers conferences to attend this year. I had finally finished my Bachelors of Art Degree and was ready to begin anew promoting my writing career. I located the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. It was a drivable distance, and the dates made it a long weekend. The best part of all in my choosing was the Key Note speaker, Sandra Aldrich.
Sandra has been one of my best friends for nearly twenty years, mostly by email. I first met her at a Focus on the Family Single Parent Conference many years ago when my kids were still kids. She was such an encourager and a down to earth woman, not some celebrity ego. I wrote to her later and sent her something I had written, and she told me I should to submit it for publication. She is the first professional to take my writing seriously. I was very anxious to see her in person again.
There was one road block to any conference however, and that was money. I wasn’t sure if I could eek out the money necessary for the conference, hotel accommodations, and miscellaneous expenses. Then I found the link to apply for a scholarship, so I completed it. I provided a little information about myself and simply stated I didn’t believe I could attend without the help of a scholarship. I was very excited a few months later when they notified me that I had been granted a partial scholarship. I quickly went to work on my other finances to make certain I would be able to attend.
My delight began the first night at the meet and greet. Everyone was so very welcoming. I tend to be a bit shy when I meet someone brand new, especially if I am the new one in a crowd of people who know each other. It was also a joy to meet with people who spoke my language. Most people I know tend to either change the subject or get a “deer in the headlights” look when I get beyond the basics of being a writer. “Oh that’s nice. I guess that’s ok if it’s something you like to do,” they tell me.
Over the next two days I had to opportunity to take advantage of various workshops for fiction, non-fiction, marketing, and editor Q & A panels. We also had the wonderful experience of three keynote messages by Sandra Aldrich. Last, but not least, we had the opportunity to sign up for a 15 minute one on one appointment with a faculty member. Since I am a non-fiction author I signed up to meet with Dr. Dennis “Doc” Hensley, a literature professor, conference speaker, and author of more than 60 published books. I was very excited when Doc Hensley told me my writing is good, I have my “one sheet,” and my outline and the beginning of my first chapter are strong. He told me that with this, combined with my full rights to my first book, it is time I sought out an agent.
He suggested I attend the August conference at Taylor University where he teaches because there will be agents and editors there. I have already registered. It is my time to more proactively pursue my writing career, and attending the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference has given me the confidence to take the next steps.
Thank you, Kentucky Christian Writers, for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s conference. I’ll be certain to tell everyone what a great experience I had and encourage other writers to attend next year.