Me to my calendar: “Hm…I think June will be a bit of a breather month.”
So…I spent half of June traveling to conferences and have only just returned home to write my next book on a very very looming deadline. But that’s how conference season always is and–despite the exhaustion and sleep deprivation–I love it.
Two days ago, I returned from the inaugural year of the SoCal Christian Writers Conference. And, despite needing a full day to catch up on breathing and life…I’m so inspired to write! I loved this conference and, while a recap post probably won’t be for everyone, I wanted to share some of the things that made this conference amazing:
1. The location.
Biola University is a gorgeous campus with multiple coffee shops for the writer-chat breaks (and sanity), gazebos and fountains and walkways of trees. I walked the campus countless times, laid out on the grass to chat with my roomie and talk books, visited under a canopied deck…*happy sigh*
Also, for those who didn’t know, Biola is my alma mater (aka: where I went to college) so it felt a bit like coming home.
2. The faculty
Half the reason I chose this conference as my “new-conference-of-the-year” was because of the faculty line-up. There were so many amazing industry professionals (and friends!) teaching this week. They had everyone from Karen Ball (brilliant speaker, author, editor, and agent) to Tosca Lee (NY Times bestselling author) to Allen Arnold (founder of Thomas Nelson’s fiction line) to…you get the picture.
3. The low cost & Bubble tea
This conference was SO AFFORDABLE. So affordable, in fact, that I was able to register on an excited whim without breaking my bank. 😛 I’m sure as it grows those costs might adjust a bit, but I was still very impressed. And then that just left more spending money for books and BOBA TEAAAAA!! (My great weakness). I actually stole Shannon Dittemore’s car to introduce everyone I could kidnap to the magical wonderland of Boba (Bubble) Tea.
We also may or may not have had a boba-tea-shooting competition. 😛
4. My roomie was AMAZING.
The adorable Ashley Townsend (with her equally adorable time-travel novels) was my comrade-in-arms during the conference. It was so nice being able to request each other as roomies. We laid claim to dorm #217, living off of min-Oreos and late night chats.
5. The conference had classes for EVERY writer.
Poetry, nonfiction, fiction, young adult writers, marketing, screenplays, children’s books, advanced writing, beginner writing, speculative fiction, fighting classes…PHEW! I’ve never seen such a line-up of classes! And they were all excellent, of course. I don’t know that I’ve attended a conference that had classes for every single type of writer out there. Bravo, conference planners!
6. I got to stay with the professor who changed my life.
This isn’t directly conference related, but since Biola is my Alma Mater, I was able to get together with Dr. Erik Thoennes, the department chair of of biblical studies and Theology at Biola. I got to attend my college-time church and listen to him preach, then spend two glorious days with his beautiful family. To twist a C. S. Lewist quote: You can never get a cup of tea big enough or book long enough to replace the rare blessing of soul-deep conversation. 😉
I also discovered that his wife and I shared a passion for Yorkshire tea. And, if you didn’t think they were already amazing, they surprised me with Oreos! I returned home with both my spirit and stomach filled. 😛 Also, Dr. Thoenne’s theology books are brilliant. I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll write more. 😉
Overall, the SoCal Christian Writers Conference was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. A lot happened that I didn’t expect. And a lot that I expected to happen didn’t actually happen. This conference is staying on my radar and I hope authors everywhere will put it on theirs!
What factors would convince you to attend a writers conference?
What’s your favorite writers conference to date?
Will I see you at SoCal next year? 😉