How I Utilized My Grant at the Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
By: Craig Hodgins
From May 20 to May 24 I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in North Carolina. This is one of the larger and better attended conferences for Christian writers. The conference offers continuing classes(multiple sessions over different days on one large topic), as well as workshops that involve 75-minute sessions on one topic. During lunch and dinner, conferees are invited to sit at tables with the faculty and discuss whatever is on their minds regarding the writing craft and the publishing industry. I also attended two 15-minute individual appointments with publishing professionals to receive feedback on my projects.
At this event I was able to network with agents, editors, and writers, in addition to expanding on my knowledge ofthe craft of writing. I attended a practicum devoted to non-fiction which included instruction from an established author, during which we critiqued each other’s submissions. The instructor provided suggestions on my specificmanuscript, and offered other resources which we could all refer to in order to improve our writing. It was a great learning experience.
I also made submissions to various genre-specific contests during the conference, and won first place for poetry and third place for flash fiction. Entering the contests forced me to work on a deadline and write tight sentences, both of which are useful skills in a writer’s toolbox. Winning the awards is also a great way to gain credibility and add to my resume.
Attending a conference such as Blue Ridge is costly, especially when travel expenses are added to the program fees, as well as room and board at the venue. I intend to use the grant provided by the Writers’ Community of York Region to offset these costs. I appreciate receiving the grant and look forward to helping others next year when I am on the judging team.