My wife and I have spent most of this past week at a Novelist Retreat at the Lifeway Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, NC.
Ridgecrest is a beautiful place, situated in the mountains. It’s like home to me, and no wonder. I don’t know how often I used to go there with my parents when I was a child. And then I worked on summer staff from 1967-1972. It’s where I met my first wife.
I returned several times during the 1990s to play guitar or bass on the praise team for the International Mission Conference. And then during the mid-2000s I started attending the BRMCWC (Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference).
The Novelist Retreat is a relatively new event. Just five or six years old, it was started by romance novelist Yvonne Lehman (pictured above), who lives just a few miles from Ridgecrest in Black Mountain. Yvonne had been the founder and director of the Blue Ridge Conference until turning that over to suspense and speculative novelist Alton Gansky.
He also writes military thrillers and non-fiction books. Some of you read my post about 60 People Who Shaped the Church; that’s one of his books.
Both conferences are for Christian writers and wanna-be authors. The BRMCWC hosts as many as 400-500 people who write everything from poetry to novels to greeting cards. The Novelist Retreat is limited to 50 participants, all of whom have written, are writing, or want to write a novel.
Both conferences allow participants to schedule fifteen-minute appointments with the faculty. The Retreat, however, doesn’t ordinarily have agents and acquisition editors, the two most important kinds of people to help get writers’ manuscripts into print. The BRMCWC does, which helps to explain its popularity.
Both conferences hold a number of helpful classes, taught by top-notch writing professionals. And both have outstanding keynote speakers. Past BRMCWC speakers include Fox news commentator Todd Starnes, Maj. Jeff Struecker, who was a key person in the real action the movie Black Hawk Down was based on, and Cecil Murphey, who co-authored the amazing best seller, 90 Minutes in Heaven.
This year’s Retreat featured best-selling author Robert Whitlow.
And up-and-coming actor, comedian, and author Torry Martin. Torry will be appearing in a Hallmark movie sometime around Thanksgiving.
I recommend both conferences. Highly.
If you’re a writer who’s serious about doing his best, you’ll never stop learning. And you’ll always be striving to do better. A writer never “arrives.” The struggle to have the next book published and do everything possible to help it sell never ends.
Perhaps you’re not a Christian writer. And perhaps the Christian elements of the two conferences at Ridgecrest wouldn’t appeal to you.
But you would do well to research other writing conferences. Perhaps you’ll find one somewhere in your general area, one that’s not terribly expensive. You can Google “writing conferences” or check Writers Digest magazine.
What do you think? Have you ever attended a writing conference? Do you see the value of going to one? How about leaving a comment?
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- Check out Roger’s free Christian lead sheets
- Shop for Roger’s books on Amazon
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