Friday, August 31, 2012

Magnificent Hope Attends the Catch the Wave Conference

This past weekend, I, Magnificent Hope, attended the Catch the Wave Conference sponsored by the Christian Author’s Guild. I got to hang out with some great writers, make many new friends, and left the conference inspired and encouraged.

The Facility

Simpsonwood Conference Center, located in Norcross, Georgia, was beautiful. It was not as plush and luxurious as some expected, but it was clean, comfortable, and modern. The staff was exceptional – everyone helpful, friendly, and smiling. It was refreshing – for this nature-loving girl anyway – to be surrounded by trees as we moved from one building to the next. (Sleeping rooms and some meeting rooms were in one building; main meeting room, dining hall, and registration desk were in another.) Wireless internet was readily available all over the facility, and meeting space was more than adequate. The meals were buffet-style, with healthy options like fish, baked chicken, vegetarian lasagna, and an abundant and fresh salad bar.

The Conference

The conference itself is rather small – 50-60 in attendance this year – but the quality is there. Three workshops were taught simultaneously during each session – nine sessions for a total of 27 workshops – and four keynote speakers. Those included Tiffany Colter, freelance writer and writing career coach; Les Stobbe, agent; Lynette Eason, bestselling and award-winning suspense author; and Write Integrity Press's own Tracy Ruckman.

The size of this conference is a GREAT place for beginners to start. Larger conferences can get overwhelming, both in number of people and in workshop options. This conference is manageable and, surprisingly, laid-back enough that everyone should feel comfortable and relaxed. Evenings were free to hang out with other writers, meet with critique groups, or catch-up on work you missed during the day.

The Staff

Conference staff provided exceptional and useful workshops. Some examples include:  Lynette Eason’s Basics of Fiction; Lin Johnson’s How to Get Published; Cynthia L. Simmon’s Using Fiction Techniques for Nonfiction; Steve Miller’s Choosing the Right Publishing Option; Nancy Lohr’s The Business Side of Children’s Publishing. Most, if not all, of the workshops provided handouts and gave ample opportunities for learning and for networking.

The Opportunities

Many conferences, including this one, offer one-on-one opportunities for writers to meet with agents, publishers, editors, and other professionals that can help your career. These 15-minute appointments are usually included in your conference fee, and give you the chance to pitch your project, ask questions, and talk about your work with these professionals face-to-face. Take advantage of that time. Prepare for the conference. Create a one-sheet or a general proposal to take with you to conference, and then take them with you to the appointments. Be passionate about your project, but pitch it succinctly. The writers who will be remembered long after conference are the ones who came prepared, left professional material, and were passionate about their projects.

The Extras

Diana Baker led some incredible worship times at this conference. She played the piano beautifully, and her song choices were encouraging, inspiring, and totally focused to point our eyes and our thoughts right to Jesus.

And that’s our purpose as writers, too, isn’t it? To point people to Jesus?

Contest Update

TODAY, August 31, is the LAST day to enter the “Where in the World is Magnificent Hope?” contest for your chance to win a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, a $100 gift card, and a whole bunch of books!

Stay tuned – on Monday, we’ll announce the winner of that contest, and announce some more fun news concerning Magnificent Hope! And even though the contest is over, Hope Tour 2012 continues at least through September - Magnificent Hope is already schedule for some more fun events! And she may even come up with some sort of Christmas contest, too!

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