Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Conference List & the Top 10 Reasons to Attend a Writers Conference in 2014

by Edie Melson

This time of year writing conferences are gearing up, the faculty has been chosen and the websites are humming, ready to take your reservations. So why attend a writer's conference? Is there anything to be gained? I believe the answer is a resounding, YES. 

Personally, I've been attending large conferences for years. And as my experience level has increased so have the benefits from attending. Here are my top ten reasons to attend a writer’s conference this year.

10. Relationships. Writing is all about relationships – your relationship with the reader, with the editor and with other writers.

9. Loneliness. Writing is a lonely business. We need time to socialize with others who get this crazy passion we have with words.

8. Confirmation. We all face doubts as to whether or not we really are a writer. A conference is the best place to confirm that calling and receive support from our peers.

7. Misery loves company. If you have spent any time at all as a writer, you know all about rejection. It helps to hear other people talk about their experiences and realize we all face the same thing.

6. The classes. Where else can you spend hours at a stretch learning about all the different aspects of writing?

5. Late night brainstorming sessions. Many of us keep odd hours as writers, where else can you find others ready to share a cup of coffee and discuss an idea at 2am?

4. Meet your neighbor. Okay, I admit, this one’s personal for me. But I had to go to a writer’s conference to meet my writing buddy Vonda Skelton – who lives less than 3 minutes away!

3. Hang out with the stars. We all have writers we admire and a conference where they are on staff is the perfect place to get to know them.

2. Sharpen that pitch. If you want to pitch an idea, a conference is the perfect place to try it out on other professionals before you send it to the editor.

1. Network, Network, Network. Like I said, writing is all about relationships and its human nature for an editor to prefer someone he’s met to someone he doesn’t know.

Now, in case you don't know where to begin when you're looking for a conference, here's a list of conferences that I can personally recommend. 

The Cove, NC
February 21-23, 2014

Florida Christian Writers Conference
Lake Yale Conference Center, Leesburg, Florida
February 26 - March 2 2014

Carolina Christian Writers Conference
Spartanburg, South Carolina
March 14-15

North Greenville University, Tigerville, South Carolina
March 28-29, 2014

Ridgecrest Conference Center, NC
May 18-22, 2014

St. Louis, MO
September 25-27

What conferences do you recommend? 

Don't forget to join the conversation!



  1. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Conference is my favorite. I return home inspired from the teaching as well as the new friends made each year. Life long friends! This year, I hope to also attend a poetry conference at Wofford College in Spartanburg SC. In addition, I'd like to attend Write2Ignite and Carolina Christian as I've heard great things about both conferences.

    Thank you, Edie. I appreciate how you keep us informed on ways to sharpen our craft. You're the best!

  2. I've been attending the summer OCW (Oregon Christian Writers) conference for the past six years and it's always excellent. Presenters always say it's one of the best they attend.

    1. Jan, I hear really good things about the OCW. It's on the list of conferences I'd like to attend. Thanks for the personal recommendation! Blessings, E

  3. The first conference I attended was the Florida Christian Writers Conference. I didn't know what I was getting into starting out with a huge conference, but it jump started my writing career. I've also attended the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in Elizabethtown, KY, several years and have even taught workshops there. They're a wonderful group of Christian writers.

    But the conference I'm most excited about this year is brand new—the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference in the Memphis, TN, area. Our writers group is hosting it, and we have a wide variety of topics and presenters. And yes, I get to present a workshop, too!

  4. ACFW is my preference, but probably because that's the only big conference I've been to (twice now). It's nice to see familiar faces. I also try to hit a small local conference. Our Detroit Working Writers hosts a one day conference in my area. It's great to meet local writers

  5. ACFW is in St. Louis this year...September, I think.
    I also recommend Mt. Hermon in California.

  6. I love attending conferences; I always seem to make at least one new writing friend. I would love to attend one of these you mention some day, but my main conference I attend and am on staff with is Write-to-Publish in Wheaton, Illinois (Chicago area) in June. I also have attended ACFW in the last few years and have enjoyed it also.

  7. Do you think it's better to attend a small conference or a larger one? What are the benefits and drawbacks to each?