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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Colorado Christian Writer's Conference


A shot of the Contemporary Christian Women's Fiction Clinic, led by award-winning writer Susan Meissner. A small group of us spent lots of time together learning about being better fiction writers.

I had a great time at the conference. It was a wonderful time of instruction, introspection, and inspiration. The longer I was there, the more I understood why I have heard that you should attend writers' conferences if you possibly can. My time there was spent not just receiving input and critique on my writing, but also working on the craft and, most importantly, fellowshipping with other writer types. Writers are an odd bunch-- so to have a place where you can talk to others who think like you and see the world like you is more important and energizing than I realized.

One of my new clinic friends took this photo of me outside one day before clinic. Thanks Lori!
A shot of the majestic Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, CO. We were surrounded by breathtaking beauty everywhere we looked.

Wind River Lodge, where we stayed.

Elk sightings are quite common on the property. They are very at home around humans. These walked right outside our patio one evening and I snapped a photo. Notice that even the bulldozers and construction equipment didn't deter them!

When I left at 6:30 am yesterday morning to catch my shuttle to the airport, I was the only human being around. I snapped these photos of three elk just grazing in the parking lot!

And here's a blurry close up-- it took my breath away how close I was standing to these wild creatures... and I was all alone so that was pretty scary if truth be told! What if they decided to use those horns??

Here's the obligatory photo of me and Susan Meissner. She's a great teacher and helped me a lot with my writing. She showed us how to structure a novel in a way that made complete sense! Thanks Susan! I had a blast getting to know her, as I have long respected her work and now feel like I know Susan the woman, not just Susan the writer. Let's just say the writing comes from a very beautiful heart.

Me (looking tired) and my roomie (and fellow P31 speaker team member) Suzie Eller (who still looked quite perky, you will notice). We had not spent much time together prior to this conference, but I have to say we had a great time together and I count her as one of my good friends now. Thanks Suzie for your late night counseling sessions, your enthusiasm and encouragement, and for just being a great roomie! Can't wait til She Speaks when we will see each other again!

If you have ever thought of going to a writer's conference, I highly recommend going. It's not for the faint of heart and it's not a place to go and get stroked for your expertise. It's a humbling and stretching experience. I lost heart several times and had to rely on the friends I made there to pick me up, dust me off, and set me back on course several times. I will never forget the ladies in my clinic and can't wait to see the books that come from them in the future. I will never forget the friends I made on the shuttle ride over and sitting around meal tables throughout the conference, and I can't wait to see what God is going to do in and through their writing lives. I will never forget the opportunities God provided for me during this past week-- opportunity to talk about writing, to learn about writing, to connect with other writers, and to get away and hear from Him about writing. It was time well spent and I am already scheming about how I can go back next year, and maybe attend some other conferences in the future!

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13 comments:

Vern ~ Inspired said...

I am pretty sure one of my friends was at this same writers conference!! She just wrote me and said I need to join her next time!!

From both of your comments it sounds like an amazing experience!

Julie Coleman said...

I attend Marlene Bagnull's writers' conference every year in Philadelphia (same director as the one in CO). It is held in August at Philadelphia Biblical University. While there are no elk to be spotted, she does have an impressive faculty and list of publishers that do attend. I have made many good contacts and friends while in attendance.

I like the spiritual emphasis of this group. Publishing can become a business only so quickly-- but when you are writing for the Lord, there is a definite component that cannot be ignored.

Glad you had such an encouraging time there.

Karen Ehman-The Keep it Simple Woman said...

Glad you had a safe trip and productive time. Isn't Suzie the BEST!!! So glad she is a P31 'sista' now. Talk to you soon. The pic your new friend snapped of you is beautiful!!!

Robin Bryce said...

Absolutely loved meeting you on the shuttle and getting to know you throughout the CCWC conference.

I wish we had more time together in the Rockies, and look forward to the opportunity to see you again.

Debra said...

Marybeth,
I had you on my mind this morning and so glad you had time to write up your conference experience. Sounds like a wonderful time of learning. I'm sure you will continue to process the info this week.
Looking forward to seeing you at she speaks this year.
Hugs,
DZ

Laurie Ann said...

Great pics! I'm so glad you enjoyed the conference. It sounds like a wonderful thing!

Suzie Eller said...

I also look tired, and I was exhausted! But I had a great time hanging out with you.

Jess said...

Oh my gosh - FINALLY! I've been waiting for this post...to hear how the conf. was...sounds incredible...

YEAH!!!

love,

jess

Mom Can I? said...

I'm glad you had a great time and are now home safe. The pictures are terrific!!! You look awesome!!!

Celly B said...

Marybeth,
I'm so happy that this conference was such a productive and affirming time for you. It sounds wonderful! Great pictures, and I love your belted denim jacket!
I wanted to thank you, too, for your last post. I've thought of it often. It means a lot to see God's timing played out in a someone's experience.

Bonita said...

I'm drooling! I'm so glad you had such an enlightening, fun experience. I'd be happy to scheme with you about going to a writing conference any time. Your trip has made me realize just how much I really do want to go to one of the big, long ones.

Those elk are incredible! Isn't Colorado a beautiful state?

Mary DeMuth said...

I'm thrilled you had a great time!!! Hooray!

Becki said...

Marybeth,
It was so great to meet you even if it was after the conference ended. I enjoyed our "shared dinner" particularly when we were asked to leave! Ha yep, we're peculiar alright! You and Susan, and Suzie and Emily, are just such great encouragers. Thanks. Blessings my new friend!

Becki