Writers’ Conferences Next Year?

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

September! It’s time to start planning for next year! Now is the time to take a look at the writers’ conferences that are being offered and plan which you would like to attend.

If you’ve never gone to a conference before, it might be nice to start with a small, local conference. Do a search for writers’ conferences in your city or county. If that doesn’t yield results, a search of conferences in your state should bring up something. If you live in a small state, like Rhode Island or something, you might need to head out to New York or Philadelphia to find a conference somewhat close to you.

I have been to a small conference in the San Francisco Bay Area–the Algonkian Pitch Fest–I think it has a new name now, but I can’t remember the new title. It was a one day event, and wasn’t too expensive. I think the writers got a lot out of it and it wasn’t a huge commitment of time or money. And there’s a small Christian one in the bay area, too. The Redwood Writers’ Conference. California also has the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference. I try to go to that one every year–even if I just drop in for our client ice cream social.

If you are a seasoned conference attendee, you might want to try one of the bigger conferences: ACFW, Mount Hermon, Blue Ridge…find one that offers some advanced classes in marketing or taking your writing to the next level.

What conferences have you been to? Would you recommend them for beginning writers or for advanced writers?

Which conference might you attend next year?

32 Responses

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  1. Kristi Woods says:

    Thinking ahead to conferences next year – is it that time already? My first conferece was She Speaks in NC. Huge. Was it overwhelming for a first? Perhaps a bit, but the worship and encouragement made it well worth the trip. I’d go again, even as a newbie. I attended a much smaller conference in Tulsa the past two years, The Successful Writer Conference. The feel and offering between the two prove as different as the mannerisms between my kids. Each has its place and well worth their space. Can’t wait to hear input from others.

  2. Wish I could, but it’s completely impossible now. To every thing there is a season, and my season’s done.
    * I will enjoy hearing about everyone else’s plans and experiences, though.

  3. Brad says:

    I attended Killer Nashville last year and met an agent who eventually signed me on. She got me a two book deal with Seventh Street Press after about sixty rejections on my own. So, practice your pitch, enter contests, and attend conferences if you are serious about your writing.

  4. I attended Mt. Hermon for the first time this year and am headed to ACFW in a few weeks. Mt. Hermon was an amazing first experience. I’d never been to a conference, nor did I know any other writers, but I felt as at home there as I have anywhere else. I learned so much and came away with treasured frienships. I’ve already registered for 2018!

  5. Susan Sage says:

    I’ve gone to Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference several years and hope to go in 2018. The first year I attended was both overwhelming and exhilarating. Overwhelming because people were speaking a language I didn’t understand. Exhilarating because I felt I’d finally found the place I belonged among a group of people who understood my idiosyncrasies. Plus, there is the fact that Mount Hermon has such a sense of God about it, the grounds, the people who work there, the way it’s run. I can hardly wait to return.

  6. I really enjoyed ACFW. I’d love to go to Mount Hermon. I highly recommend them for building relationships. I’ve made so many writer friends on-line … it’s so wonderful to meet them in person.

  7. The Redwood Writers conference (where I used to speak every year) no longer exists. When the pastor who led it, Rev.Jon Drury, retired, it became West Coast Christian Writers conference, which is now held in Pleasanton, CA.

    Smaller conferences like this one are great for people just getting into professional writing, or who can’t afford the bigger conferences.

  8. I probably shouldn’t admit it in public, but I’m addicted to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference and have no intention of getting into recovery. 😉 That conference is educational, inspiring, and a good place to make connections with editors and agents. It’s also a good place to connect with others who share our two important loves; writing and Christianity.

  9. Yes! Conferences are so helpful. I always attend the Heart of America Christian Writers conference in Kansas City. It is perfect for newbies because of its family atmosphere and casual venue. The biggest conference I’ve attended so far was Writing for the Soul one of the last times it was held in Denver. I’m looking at Mt. Hermon …

  10. Carol Ashby says:

    I went to two last year: the ACFW Colorado Springs chapter 1-day conference and 3-day Colorado Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park. Both were excellent. The keynote speaker in Colorado Springs answered my indie vs. traditional quandary in a single 5-minute conversation where he told me what I’d have to do to keep rights to support mission. The CCWC camp location (YMCA of the Rockies) with dorm-like accommodations and all meals in the dining hall led to great times talking with other writers and industry professionals. The talks and panels were full of useful information, and the group worship times were great. I’d recommend either wholeheartedly.
    *I’m going to my first ACFW this year. I’m psyched and all ready except for designing and sewing the Roman tunic and stola (married woman’s overgarment) for the genre dinner. Afterwards, I can get my daughter to wear it and pose as the body-double for future covers in my Light in the Empire series. There aren’t many commercial images dressed for AD 120 Rome.

  11. I’m attending ACFW again this year (yay!), and I went to Write in the Springs in CO in 2016. The Colorado one-day event was much more intimate, but I made a few really good friends at both places–one large, one small–and I would highly recommend attending either to make good connections.

  12. Gayle Roper says:

    I went to my first writers conference in 1971 and have attended at least one every year since. Fantastic contacts, fantastic fun, fantastic friends. This year it’s Greater Philadelphia and ACFW (where I’ll be serving as a mentor). See you all at the B&S reception!

  13. I’ve gone twice to the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference–it’s not too far away, and I bunk with relatives. That’s a trade-off between fellowship and finances; I miss the late evening and early morning networking, but 3/4 loaf is better than none.

  14. I’ll always love Mount Hermon, but I have to say that Oregon Christian Writers summer conference has really been kicking it up a notch in recent years. It sounds like a small, regional conference, but it draws publishers and authors from all over the country. It’s definitely worth looking into.

  15. For the past six years I have been attending smaller but still high quality writing seminars. These have been sponsored by either the Minnesota Christian Writers Guild or MN NICE, the Minnesota chapter of ACFW. I would love to be able to go to the yearly ACFW conference sometime, as well as, some of the other conferences around the country.

    I did get to attend the first Northwestern Christian Writers Conference in St. Paul this year. I am so very glad the university decided to host this, and that next year’s conference is already set for July 14th.

    I would recommend the Northwestern Conference to beginning writers into published writers. Seasoned writers may already have a handle on many of the topics taught, but I think as writers it’s always good to refresh our knowledge and add to it, especially in the always changing world of technology and social media.

    • Michelle Aleckson says:

      I’ll echo you, Elizabeth! The Northwestern Writers Conference in St. Paul, MN was a great first conference for me. It was one day, amazing keynote speaker, close to home, and an opportunity to meet editors, authors, and agents in one-on-one meetings. And it didn’t hurt that it was held at my alma mater! 😉

      Next year I hope to go to ACFW too, but I will also go back to NW too!

  16. Angie Arndt says:

    My brother lives in Nashville and I’ve always wanted to stay at the Gaylord (Opry House), so I was thrilled to hear that next year’s ACFW would be there. But the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference is always great, too.

  17. Cathy Biggerstaff says:

    I’ve attended Write2ignite several times, a conference for writers of literature for children and young adults with a Christian world view. It’s a smaller conference (around 100 people attend each year) but doesn’t lack for educational opportunities or networking with agents, editors and publishers. It’s held at North Greenville University near Greenville, SC.

  18. Kristie Kandoll says:

    Oregon Christian Writers conference is held in Portland, OR every August. It’s the only bigger one I’ve attended, but I think it’s inspiring with good classes. This year’s keynote speakers, Frank Peretti and Tessa Afshar, were both so memorable.

  19. This is such a great question, Rachel. For four years, I attended our smaller Seattle Regional SCBWI conference all by myself, just to learn, not pitch. Then it got more expensive as they added a second day. So I started attending a small regional Christian Writer’s Conference, the Northwest Christian Writer’s Renewal which is just wonderful and I was able to find other writers who wanted to go along. I think the Renewal is small and friendly enough for new writers, I went to the SCBWI regional one as a first time conference attendee and did all right, ok, so I did weep in the bathroom after my first critique, but that was bound to happen no matter where the critique occurred. It is bigger though. The Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference looks really amazing, I went to the awards banquet because I had entries in their contest, but it is out of my budget for the present. The ACFW conference is amazing, but expensive, you feel like writer Cinderella getting to attend! I would say, commit to a small inexpensive conference every year and save up for a Cinderella moment on occasion at a larger conference. That way your writing is growing no matter what and occasionally gets big jump starts.

  20. Sarah Sundin says:

    I’m also addicted to Mount Hermon. Great things happen there – not just publication-wise, but spiritually. Truly a phenomenal conference!

    I also love ACFW, but it’s harder for this California writer to get to!

    I second/third the vote for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference (formerly Redwood) in the CA East Bay. Great introductory conference for beginning writers, but with excellent teaching to benefit seasoned writers. Plus, seeing your writing buddies!

  21. Jenny Leo says:

    This year I spoke at Historical Novel Society (not a Christian conference, but I like the historical focus). I’m also planning to attend Art of Writing in Nashville in November. In 2018 my top picks would be Mount Hermon and Oregon Christian Writers, if the Lord wills.

  22. David Todd says:

    2003 a regional conference in Oklahoma City
    2004 Write To Publish conference, Wheaton IL
    2006 Glorietta Writers Conference, Glorietta NM (old name, old location)
    2007 Heart of America Christian Writers Conf, in Kansas City
    2008 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conf, near Asheville NC
    2011 Write To Publish conference, Wheaton IL
    2012 Oklahoma Writers Federation conf., Oklahoma City

    I don’t have any advice on which to go to. I’m not sure the regional conferences are all that beneficial, depending on where you are in your writing journey. They are less expensive, however, and can be a place to network, especially with other beginning writers.
    And why are you picking on Rhode Island, my home state? It may be small geographically, but it’s got a lot of heart.

  23. Every September- the one day Write2Inspire conference at Gambrill State Park tea room. Frederick MD – Small, professional, soul-enriched