This weekend I spent a couple days in the company of other writers at the Breathe Christian Writers Conference. It was my third year attending, my second year leading a workshop, this time on taking our writing to the next level through rewriting and revision. We had a fantastic keynote speaker, Julie Cantrell, and I’m looking forward to reading her book, Into the Free. And we enjoyed inspiring words and a charge to write the truth and write at the highest level of excellence we can from Dr. Michael Wittmer, a professor at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and a friend.
Besides those entertaining and encouraging presentations, I was able to attend workshops led by several talented writers, professors, and professionals, including
-Dave Beach, a psychologist who turns his expertise toward creating characters that are highly developed and nuanced by examining them through various psychological lenses. Check out his website, characterdoctor.com to try it out!
–Zachary Bartels and Ted Kluck, who took us through all the pluses and pitfalls of indie and traditional publishing, highlighting their own successes and failures in both arenas, and teaching us how to read between the lines while working with editors and big publishing houses. Check out their indie micropress, Gut Check Press.
–Dr. Michael Stevens and Dr. Matt Bonzo, who gave us insight into the life’s work of Wendell Berry, who spent fifty years writing about one small locality and made the people and the events in this little rural Kentucky town speak to readers on a universal level. I’m very interested to read their book after dipping into Wendell Berry ‘s work.
I was also privileged to spend time in the company of writers like Tracy Groot, Suzanne Burden, Alison Hodgson, Andy Rogers, Josh Mosey, and others. Breathe is an intimate, noncompetitive group–far more intimate than the huge ACFW Conference we went to in St. Louis this year–and I appreciate the camaraderie there.
The whole affair has me even more excited for the second annual Write on the Red Cedar Conference that my own writing group, Capital City Writers Association, is holding January 16-17 in East Lansing, Michigan. We’re ecstatic to welcome literary agent and author Donald Maass as our keynote, along with other writers, journalists, editors, and agents from around the country. If you’re a writer in the Midwest, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business for a very reasonable price.
You’ll be hearing more about that conference in the months to come. In the meantime, our very busy season at home is hopefully slowing down a little bit. Around here there are gardens to ready for the winter, desks to clean off and organize, quilts and crochet throws to make, rooms to clean…and a new novel brewing in my mind.
October is half over. I want to really live intentionally during the second half. How about you?