Do you enjoy meeting writers in person?
Would you like to do so on a regular basis?
Last weekend I headed to the Write to Inspire Conference held just an hour from where I live. I spent Friday evening and all day Saturday in the company of some talented writers. Here are four of my special friends.
I met Marcia Harris Brim sixteen years ago. We attended the same church and shared special times in Bible Studies. Our paths diverged, but writing brought us together again. Marcia’s written homeschool curriculum, and she co-founded a small publishing company with her husband. I was delighted when Karen announced Marcia as the second runner-up in the Write to Inspire non-fiction contest Saturday evening.
Chris Pedersen and I were introduced by a mutual friend three years ago. She writes children’s books and is developing an app for the iBook. She was the first local writer I got to know and is the one who introduced me to the Inspire group. Chris, a former engineer, is bright and quite tech-savvy. I’ve learned a great deal from her. We’ve become good friends and meet to talk writing whenever we can.
I met Joanne Kraft at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A few months later she joined Toastmasters, where I was privileged to serve as her mentor. She sold her first book soon after and had to leave Toastmasters when publishing deadlines entered her life. We’re literary agency mates now, both represented by Rachelle Gardner.
Joanne’s non-fiction book, Just Too Busy–Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical, released this summer, and she’s been busy with marketing and promotion, traveling across the country and speaking at places such as Focus on the Family and the national M.O.P. S. convention. Now Joanne’s mentoring me as I prepare for the release of my first novel.
Lacie Nezbeth and I are a social media success story. We connected on Twitter. Curiosity led Lacie to check out my blog, and she discovered that we live just twenty minutes apart. She sent me an email, and we met for breakfast. I was taken with Lacie from the start. Talk about a sweetheart! She’s another inspy historical writer, so we have much in common. We’re going to travel to the ACFW conference together where we’ll be roomies. I’m stoked.
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The time with friends was my favorite part of the conference, but we were all inspired by our speakers. Agent Karen Ball served as the main speaker. She gave the opening address and spoke all day Saturday. Novelist Ginny Yttrup, one of Karen’s clients and friends, delivered two workshop sessions Friday evening while Karen heard pitches.
Karen is a dynamic woman who offered a nice mix of instruction and entertainment. Laughter filled the room on a regular basis as she shared stories from her heart. Not only is she a gifted editor-turned-agent and an engaging speaker, but she possesses many other talents as well. Her singing voice is amazing. She’s a calligrapher, too, and added her artistic touch to the certificates given the winners of the fiction and non-fiction writing contests. And Karen can consume more caffeine than just about anyone I’ve ever met.
Ginny is soft-spoken and personable. Her warm, gentle approach was just the thing for Friday evening after a busy week. Ginny, whose debut novel, Words, took the inspirational market by storm, shared her journey to publication. She gave us an inside look at what goes into writing a novel, from idea to release, along with marketing pointers
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While it’s great to meet my online friends at annual conferences, I leave craving more face-to-face connections. I treasure the time I’m able to spend with writers who live in my community. I know a few inspy writers and meet with them as often as our schedules allow, but those breakfast or lunch dates happen far less often than I’d like.
Because I had such a great time with the members of the Inspire Christian Writers at the conference, I decided to join the group. I’ll be able to attend workshops and to participate in critique groups. I love to edit and to help other writers, so that appeals to me. An added bonus is that I’ll see my four friends pictured above regularly because they’re all members of the same Inspire small group. Talk about a win-win.
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Are you part of a local writers group? If so, what do you see as the benefits?
Do you have local writer friends that you get together with regularly?
If you’re not a writer, do you have a hobby you share with others?