Many years ago, I was a pastor’s wife looking for a way to do two things: share the words tumbling around in my head and make a little extra money. Shirley went to church with us and suggested that I might be able to learn to do both of those things by attending St. Davids Christian Writer’s Conference. She helped me obtain a scholarship and I attended my first conference at Geneva College in June of 2004.
I remember arriving the first day. It felt like when my parents dropped me off at summer camp. I didn’t know a soul and I was homesick before my family made it out of the driveway. I was sharing a room with a woman named, Princessa who was about as different from me as could be. I pretty much figured everyone saw the big “impostor” sign I felt like I was wearing. I wrote a little and dreamed a lot but didn’t figure that counted as much. And everyone asked me the same question, “What kind of writing do you do?”
And everyone asked me the same question, “What kind of writing do you do?”
“Hmmm, English?” I really had no clue. I was sooo green.
It didn’t take long to feel at home even though I feared being discovered and kindly asked to leave. I learned some valuable information like what genre I wrote, inspirational or non-fiction. I learned about queries, reprint rights and proposals. I received an honorable mention in the contest I entered. When I went home I sold my first article within two months. And I could finally call myself a writer!
But what I really found at St. Davids was a community of friends who encourage me and challenge me to keep writing. Some of my dearest friends are part of this community and going now feels a bit like going home. Jim Watkins, our Conference Director, has characterized St. Davids as the “Happiest Conference in the country.” I would agree and I believe it is this way because of the community that makes up St. Davids Christian Writers’ Association. They are the reason I kept coming back.
Do you ever wonder if you’re a writer? Do you need encouragement to submit your work for publication? Do you need knowledge and insight about the publishing world? Consider attending St. Davids this summer. The conference now takes place at Grove City College in Grove City, PA. There are workshops in several different genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry. There will be agents, editors and publishers (oh my!) available to meet with you. And there will be a community that draws you in and encourages you to work hard for your dream.
There are scholarships available and also contests to enter. You can find out more information at the St. Davids Writers’ Association website.
Thank you, Shirley, you will always be my hero.