Years ago I attended a conference here in the Southland, which was nice because I didn’t have the added expense of a hotel room. It was held at a Christian university in the area so the facility couldn’t have been better. However, the director changed and the venue changed, and then the conference ended.
Another small–I’m talking, fifty people at most–conference, ACW, used to be held in the area at a hotel. I could still commute and liked that one too depending on who the presenters were. There was something really intimate about such a small gathering.
I went to another one day conference in the area put on by the Orange County Christian Writers’ Fellowhip, and that was good too (they recently expanded to a two day conference, I believe). It was medium sized and had some good workshop instructors.
Then there was the ACFW conference a number of years ago. I liked my classes and had a chance to meet a number of online friends in person.
In fact, the best part of conferences, I think, is getting to hang out with writers. I like learning the important content the instructors give, too. I’m an incurable note-taker so fill up pages at these conferences. I also use up all the slots I’m given to meet with editors and agents.
Mount Hermon seems like a good conference for those of us attending–we get to have our work in front of either editors or agents as a submission, if we choose, or we can ask for a critique from one of those or from an experienced writer. Then we can make appointments with staff we’d like to talk with or we can sit with them at lunch or dinner. Since the conference officially runs from Friday noon to Tuesday noon, that’s a lot of meals to spend pitching projects or just getting to know professionals in the business.
Besides all that, there are continuing classes on a particular subject of your choice, so you can go in depth. There are also editor and agent panels and other workshops about interesting topics. Of course there are also keynote speakers that tie the whole conference together. I’ve been there when Ted Dekker was a keynoter and another year when Jerry Jenkins was. But my favorite was Liz Curtis Higgs.
Mount Hermon has another thing going for it–it’s in Mount Hermon. I don’t know that there’s a more beautiful spot for a conference–and my favorite place in the world is Colorado. So you can see, I think a lot about the Mount Hermon Conference site. There’s something about those redwood trees. They’re not just big, though they are that. They are majestic. Or noble. It’s one of those things everyone tries to capture on film, but it just doesnt’ translate to an image. Besides, they create this amazing separation from the busy urban coastal communities nearby, so you feel as if you are miles and miles away from distractions (unless you bring them with you).
I love writers’ conferences, all types–small, large, short, long. I love talking about writing, hearing stories about writing, getting feedback about my writing. I even like writing, so one of the things I’d like to do is go to a writing retreat where much of the time is spent writing.
For now, though, I’m content to troll the Internet for news about conferences in the hopes that someone is blogging about their experience so I can live vicariously through them! ;-)