I'll begin with some takeaways from the OCW conference, but then prepare yourselves for an photo dump :P The only other conference I've attended to compare to was a teeny tiny Texas one from last year (post here). But I think I can still confidently say that the OCW conference was one of the best ever.
1 // Age makes no difference. Just like the other teency conference I went to, there was basically no one else my age! (Except for the awesome 3 girls that I went with this time.) There were only a handful of people under 40, and most were over 50. Which is actually really cool if you think about it. Lots of them are just as new to writing as I am. How neat is that? Your age doesn't make any difference. It's never too late to start.
2 // Even famous people are people. Yep. They still get excited to hear you've read their books. They still need coffee to survive a four day conference. And they still get nervous and make mistakes. They're human! Which I find super comforting. Were famous people like Jill Williamson and Frank Peretti really cool in person?? Of course! BUT they don't live on a pedestal; we put them there.
3 // Writers are never alone. We may do most of our work alone, and even prefer being alone sometimes (most of us are introverts, okay?). But we really aren't alone. There were so many people that I brushed shoulders with at the conference who were genuinely interested in what I was doing. Quite a few of them were even doing something similar. Don't underestimate the power of community.
4 // Christian is more than a label. I admit that I wasn't sure I wanted to go to a "Christian" conference. What does that even mean, anyway? No one will be selling erotica? That's a bonus, but let's just say, I wanted to go to the best. And if the best wasn't exclusively Christian, then I was okay with that. BUT NO. This conference was so much more than Christian. It was godly. It was like church where you learn about writing. I'm not kidding. It was more than the Sunday School rhetoric, because everyone there was pursuing God and representing Him in their writing. Can there really be a greater calling?
5 // Writing starts with us.
You're thinking "duh." Hear me out on this one. Something that really came home to me when taking Tessa Afshar's class called "Weaving Spiritual Themes into Your Book," was that I can't write what I know until I know something. If our goal as Christian writers is to connect people with truth and show them a glimpse of God, then shouldn't we be able to perceive that in ourselves first? The emotional connection people make to stories is often because it identifies something inside of them that they can't identify. Until I get to know the way I work, I won't be able to lay a finger on how anyone else works.
6 // God has to be for it. Something else I realized while at the conference was that if I'm writing for God, I'd better be including Him in the process. And I mean really including Him. I think the reason Martin Hospitality has been as successful as it has been is because God was behind it. That's why I was able to finish it and somehow get the messages I wanted to share (and even some I had nothing to do with) into that book. That is not happening with it's sequel. At all. The only thing I can conclude after several months of plodding along and literally getting nowhere is that God is not for it right now. He will be eventually, I hope. But for now, I'm going to set Martin Crossroads aside.
Obviously, my head is still swimming with everything I learned at the conference. It was an overall phenomenal experience, and I am definitely interested in attending again, even if it is in Portland.
I met some famous people at the conference!!
All these people were so awesome and fun to talk to!! Like I said, they were surprisingly normal and easy to talk to ... not to mention eager to make new friends! So fun ^.^
Nothing about the conference or all the traveling it took me to get there would have been half as fun without the young ladies I went with! Forget about going back to Washington and Oregon for the conference! I'm going back just to see them again!! :D
((all photos with people in them were taken by Ivy))
|Mountains on the way to Spokane|
|Driving to Portland -- our most energetic morning for sure|
|Mountains. Mountains everywhere :D|
|One of the first things we did? Skip out on the agents' panel|
|Taking notes in Tessa's coaching class|
|Ivy joined my morning class ;)|
|The hotel had really good coffee!!|
|Lunch at IKEA|
|Lincoln City Beach with Emily|
|Literally the only seaweed on the entire beach|
|So windy and SO COLD|
|Starbucks for the drive home of course|
|Happy birthday to Megan!|
|No trip is complete without a bookstore|
|Name inspiration at a cemetery with Ivy!|
- eating mango on the back of a car
- eating waaay too much candy
- trying Chicharrones and Mountain Dew
- watching the eclipse with Ivy's family
- watching the 2008 BBC Sense and Sensibility with Ivy
- staying up late in the Bakers' alcove
- cooler weather!!!!
- successfully surviving airports by myself
- having mothers matchmake -_-
- TALKING TO AN AGENT
- mentor session with April McGowan
- brainstorming with Ivy
- praying together every morning as we got in the car
- and every moment in between :)
Does that not look like an amazing trip?! What writer conferences have you enjoyed? Have you met any of your writing friends or famous authors?