My first Kentucky Christian Writers Conference was in 2005. There I was, a teacher from Southeastern Kentucky, thinking I stood out like a sore thumb amongst so many talented writers. I had dipped my toe into the choppy writing waters and thought I could get some publishing advice. Matter-of-fact, I thought I would certainly come home with a book contract right off the bat.
Hindsight is 20/20, and I now realize how naive I was about the publishing industry. However, I learned God still had a purpose for me at that first conference.
God put me together with some like-minded people who still remain good friends. There was an editor from Thomas Nelson at that event who agreed to take a look at my work. Thomas Nelson wasn't the right place for my material, and this editor ended up leaving the company a couple of months after KCWC. But our friendship endures to this day, and we have been able to encourage each other on numerous occasions over the last seven years.
Speaking of encouragement, I met someone at the 2006 KCWC who should have a PHd in it--Sandra Aldrich, the keynote that year. After she was introduced to the crowd for her first presentation, she announced "I'm proud to be a Kentucky woman from Harlan County!" My heart stopped. I looked around the room and realized I was definitely the only attendee from Harlan County and practically the only one from my end of the state, period. During the break I walked up to Sandra and introduced myself as a fellow Harlan Countian. Later in the day I won a special door prize--a seat at Sandra's lunch table! The next morning we ran into each other at breakfast at the hotel, and she asked to meet my family. We became friends, bonded by our love of writing, the Lord, and the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Sandra and I continued to be "email buddies, with hugs across the miles" after the conference. One day she sent me a message with some attachments about a book a friend of hers was planning. "Submit something," Sandra encouraged. I did, and a year or so later the book Simple Little Words was published, including an essay by yours truly.
Another year I met a lady who was promoting her new book, Murder by Mushroom. My thought: "what an interesting title." Little did I know that the author, Virginia Smith, would become a dear friend and a workshop collaborator.
I could go on and on about the special friendships I've made through KCWC, but blog posts do have a word limit!
My point is . . . you never know whom God is going to pair you with at KCWC. The relationships you form are just as important as your signature on a contract. I recently heard that, at conferences like KCWC, we should pray for "Holy Introductions and Divine Appointments," and I believe it. Sure, your work is important, and God may be ready to open some doors for your writing. Also remember God may have your next friend and encourager waiting for you.
Join me at KCWC to find out what God has in store. Visit www.kychristianwriters.com for complete information on the event, which will be held June 22-23 at Grace Heartland Church in Elizabethtown.
KCWC Publications Chair/Blog Administrator