Saturday, July 30, 2022

To Grow as a Writer We Must Nurture Meaningful Writing Relationships

by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

The importance of building writing relationships is a concept Edie Melson emphasizes. At the Kentucky Christian Writers Virtual Conference June 16-18, 2022, and the SpeakUp Conference July 6-9, 2022, I experienced the value of Edie’s philosophy in three ways.

Sessions Online with Those I Built Relationships through Writing

At the virtual Kentucky CWC, Lori Hatcher had three breakout sessions and appointment slots. We follow and learn from each other on The Write Conversation. I attended Lori’s sessions. As she spoke, I realized how much we have in common:
  • Toastmasters but not the same club 
  • Christian Communicators Conference graduates although not the same year
  • Love for people and the desire to offer them hope through our speaking and writing
In an appointment with Lori, we shared our love of devotional writing, prayer, and praise.

I also “met” Tracy Crump at the Kentucky CWC but had never seen her. She is a petite woman with a sense of humor that showed up when I least expected it. For example, the founder of the KCWC Jean Hall opened each day with prayer and a devotion. When she introduced one of the speakers, Jean said, “You’ll never find a kinder person.” Tracy wrote in the live chat, “I’m much kinder.”

Her love and compassion for caregivers overflow on her beautiful new website. which AWSA sister Rhonda Dragomir designed at

Reunions at the SpeakUp Conference with Those I Built Relationships at Blue Ridge

Years ago, Bethany Jett and Vincent B Davis II did an in-person breakout session at Blue Ridge—hers on marketing and PR and his on the use of Amazon to build a platform. I worked with both. Bethany shared her specialty with the Virtual AWSA Inner Circle mastermind group. So did Vincent on a separate occasion. I looked forward to seeing them again in person. 

Bethany, Vincent, and I greeted one another as longtime family. We asked about spouses, pets, and general health. In our conversation, Edie’s philosophy about building relationships came to mind.

Bold Vision Books owners Karen and George Porter travel to conferences around the country. I attended Karen’s sessions on Great Storytelling and Uncover the Humor at a live AWSA event. Although I didn’t meet them at Blue Ridge, I associate them with it because they publish Edie’s books.

I refer to the Porters as “the honeymooners.” Who else would celebrate their anniversary at a conference? They fill my heart with joy as George pulls out a chair or opens a door for Karen and puts on his cowboy hat to get something for Karen from their vehicle.

Time with Those Who Understand the Schedule of Speakers and Writers

The schedule of speakers and writers means lots of time alone to prepare oral and written presentations and PowerPoint slides. During the pre-conference clinic on book proposals, AWSA sisters Kim de Blecourt and Kathy Bruins brought up the issue of time alone or with people who consider us weird. We admit we get excited over the right word for a sentence or the perfect background for a PP slide. However, those who don’t understand us experience an adrenalin rush over sports or another activity about which I lack interest.

Cindy (Lucinda) Secrest McDowell regularly contributes to The Write Conversation and mentors speakers and writers. We’ve crossed paths in person and online through AWSA and other events. When she prays, she fills me with soul strength.

And Carol Kent, the founder and executive director of the SpeakUp Conference, is a founding member of AWSA. 

I encourage you to build relationships. I started with AWSA and the Write Conversation. I omitted countless people from this article for brevity. I’d be happy to speak for your organization on relationships and the power of prayer, which made the SpeakUp Conference a foretaste of heaven.

Please share how you build relationships in the comments section below.


Yvonne Ortega walks with a small footprint but leaves a giant imprint in people’s lives. This power-packed package is a professional speaker and the author of the Moving from Broken to Beautiful® Series through cancer, divorce, forgiveness, and loss. Learn more at WWW.YVONNEORTEGA.COM

Yvonne speaks with honesty and humor as she shares her life and struggles through presentations that empower women to find peace, power, and purpose through God’s Word. 

Yvonne’s background as a licensed professional counselor brings a unique perspective into the heart of women. She’s a speaking and writing coach and the owner of Moving from Broken to Beautiful®, LLC. She belongs to the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, the Christian Authors Network, the National Speakers Association, and Toastmasters International.

She celebrates life at the beach, where she walks, builds sand castles, blows bubbles, and dances.

Featured Image: Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash


  1. Yvonne, I also attended She Speaks and KCWC both online. I also met with Lori and it meant a lot to talk with her and Julie Lavender even though it was through an electronic device. I am thankful for these connections and with Edie too.

    1. Barbara, thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you had the opportunity to attend She Speaks and the KCWC virtually. She Speaks is different from the Speak Up Conference but is also a wonderful event. I watched Julie Lavender's session, and she also offered a wealth of information. As I wrote, for the sake of brevity, I left countless people out of this article. I thank God for Edie. She is a Godly woman who has influenced thousands of people year after year on this blog and in AWSA.
      Yvonne Ortega

  2. I have formed some of the most wonderful relationships at ACFW, AWSA and Mount Hermann conferences. Those relationships are invaluable to my life as a writer. I know Karen Porter and have been at conferences with her and she speaks the truth. My biggest desire has been to attend the Blue Ridge conference, but alas that won't be happening. Thank you for this post that re-affirms what I do dearly believe.

  3. Martha W. Rogers, thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you've attended ACFW, AWSA, and Mount Herman. I've heard wonderful things about ACFW, and I've attended many AWSA Conferences live and online. I went once to Mount Herman. It was tremendous. Martha, I pray that one day you'll be able to attend the Blue Ridge Mts. CWC. Place that desire before the Lord. Who knows? Maybe one day you and I will meet in person at Blue Ridge.
    Yvonne Ortega

    1. Thank you, so much, but since I'm 86 and not very mobile and have a heart condition making it difficult to travel, i pray for the Lord to simply let me keep writing until I get all the stories He's given me out of my head and heart.

  4. Thanks so much for this article. Living in South Africa makes it "impossible" for me to attend conferences - yet I have been to two. (With God ALL things are possible!) I have met and bonded with SO MANY special people on both occasions. Best of all, I met you in person, having been critique partners for years online, at the Florida Christian Writers Conference, and we're still in touch all these years later! I am now in the second half of my 70's so don't anticipate ever traveling overseas again, but I'm so grateful for the contacts I've made through these two that I did get to.