Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday Review—Some of My Favorite Writing Conferences for 2013

BRMCWC Awards Banquet, Photo Courtesy of Mary Denman
Today I'd like to highlight some of my favorite writing conferences that are coming up in the first part of 2013. There are literally hundreds to choose from, but I only endorse those I've been to or where I know the majority of the faculty personally. 

Over the next few weeks/months I'll also be interviewing the conference directors. This will give you a chance to hear their hearts and the focus of their particular conference.

After this list, I'll give you an idea of how to choose from all that's offered.

The Cove, NC
February 1-3

February 27- Marc 3
Lake Yale Conference Center, Leesburg, Florida

March 15-16
North Greenville University, SC

Held at First Baptist, Spartanburg 
Spartanburg, SC
April 19-20

May 19-23
Ridgecrest Conference Center, NC

It’s critical that we recognize the need to grow in our craft…to learn to write better!

So how do we do that? One of the best ways is to attend writers conferences. But with all the choices out there, how do we choose the one that best fits our circumstances? 

I have my favorites, of course! But just because they’re my favorites doesn’t mean they are the best choice for YOU. I’ve tried to break it all down and give you as unbiased an overview as I can.
The first thing you should consider is your experience level. You need to look at where you are with your writing, that will be the biggest factor in your decision. As you look at the categories realize that your experience may overlap.

  • Never submitted anything for publication.
  • Hasn’t told many people he writes.
  • Has submitted a couple of things, but nothing published.

Advanced Beginner
  • Has several rejection letters and a couple of acceptances.
  • Is a member of a local or online writing group.
  • Regularly reads articles or books about writing.

  • Has attended a writers event (either a workshop, conference or online class).
  • Has an idea of where he wants to go with his writing.
  • Has been paid for his writing.

  • Spends time each day working at the craft of writing and has an income derived from writing.
  • Has definite goals and aspirations for his writing.

Once you know which group you fall into, it’s easier to evaluate each individual event. There are 2 reasons to attend a teaching event.

To learn more about the craft of writing

To network with professionals within the writing world


Here’s a general breakdown of what is usually offered at each kind of event.
 These events vary slightly, so the following information is generalized. You should read all brochures and websites carefully to know what to expect.

Large, National Writing Conference
Expect lots of classes for a wide variety of writers - from beginner to advanced.

Continuing Classes – these are classes that last for more than one class period and concentrate on one subject. Even though they are continuing, they rarely provide advanced information on a given subject.

Workshops – these are classes that give an introduction to a concept (like dialogue, plot or setting).
Breakouts or Panels – these are groups of professionals giving instruction on a given subject. The information here is usually very basic.

Appointments with Faculty – most large conferences include a private appointment with a member of the faculty. This is where you would pitch a book or article idea to an editor. It can also be valuable to let a seasoned author look at your writing and give one-on-one feedback.

Regional or Local Writing Conference
These tend to have more classes for the beginner and advanced beginner writer, although there are exceptions. Depending on the length of time, the conference will follow the same basic setup as a national conference.

Workshop or Seminar
Many of these are very specific in what they offer. They aren’t for a large number of writers and generally target the intermediate or advanced writer.

Online Classes
Again, they are very specific in what they offer and vary widely in who they cater to.

It’s never a good idea to write in a vacuum. I have always tried to attend one large conference a year to expose myself to the writing industry, both for networking and education. I also try to attend at least one focused workshop or seminar each year I and I try to keep my eyes open for online writing courses and take at least two a year.

Let me know what conferences and events you've attended and how they've helped your writing journey.

Don't forget to join the conversation!


  1. Thanks for putting this list together!

    1. I'm glad you find it helpful. Be sure to add any of your favorites! Blessings, E

  2. Edie, thanks for this great break down of what to look for in various conferences, to help pick the one best suited for our needs.

    1. Sandy, thanks for stopping by. I'd love to know if you have a favorite that isn't listed. Blessings, E

    2. One conference I've attended for the past 4 years is the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, held in May at the YMCA in Estes Park. The timing makes it a difficult decision between CCWC, and the Blue Ridge conference.

  3. Replies
    1. Blue Ridge has a special place for both of us since we first met there! Talk about a God thing!! Blessings, E

  4. I've attended BRMCWC and Write2Ignite. Both were reasonably priced, professionally run and presented, and over-the-top helpful to building a writing career. Plus, the food was tasty and that's always a bonus. I hope to branch out next year and attend others. Thanks for the list and tips, Edie.

    1. Kim, thanks for the endorsement of Blue Ridge and Write2Ignite! Blessings, E

  5. Thanks for the great list. Hope to be at Blue Ridge this year!!

  6. This is a great list, Edie! I've heard so many wonderful things about Blue Ridge. I would love some day to get to go. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

  7. Edie, I am a beginner and would like to know what online courses would be suitable for me.

  8. Am really looking forward to BRMCWC this year. I feel like I will know so much better how to get what I need. Last year's conference gave me so much confidence and encouragement. Can't wait to see what the new year holds! Blessings!

  9. WOW! I've never attended a writer's conference nor a class. Glad to have the chance to read this post so I could look at the break down. This gives me much to think about for next year.
    Thanks for sharing Edie.

  10. For those in the Midwest, I highly recommend Write-to-Publish at Wheaton College, near Chicago. I've attended this conference more than any other and always learn so much! But it's not until the first week of June ... so you have plenty of time to plan and save your money.

  11. Edie, I liked this post! It's nice knowing what level of writer I am, although I think I fall somewhere between two categories! I would love to hear more from Tina. She mentioned being better prepared for the Blue Ridge conference since attending last year. I've never been but that's what my hubby gave me for Christmas--tuition to the Blue Ridge conference! Woo Hoo! Now, I want to be prepared. What would past attendees tell a first time attendee about the conference? What do they wish they had known before going? What do they plan to do differently?