Jacquie and I are so looking forward to Ponderosa Lodge’s 40th Anniversary this summer. Can you believe that is has already been 40 years since we started that ministry? Save the dates of August 21-23, 2009 for the big celebration and plan on coming it is going to be great! If you were on Summer Staff, a Camper, a donor, a Mount Hermon Associate, or one of the people developing this ministry/facility, we need you to come and help us enthusiastically celebrate!!! More information following…keep your eye on this blog.
One of our Writers Conference faculty, B. J. Taylor, sent this blog today. Enjoy!
When the professional photographer set up a fan and started blowing my hair around I wanted to yell STOP. Wind-blown hair, flying all over the place, that’s just not me. It felt uncomfortable. It felt like I wasn’t in control–every strand of hair wasn’t perfectly in place. It felt well, different. But I told myself it was okay to stretch, to take a leap of faith, to stick my neck out there…to blow in the wind. So I let her take the shots. And I looked at them when she was done. Hmmm…I liked it. I was out of my comfort zone, but it felt kind of good.
I wondered if I was in a comfort zone with my writing. Reach out and try new markets? That would be too scary. Speak at a women’s event? Goosebumps would break out all over my body. Write a novel? Too daunting to even think about.
But what am I getting by doing what I’ve always done? I’m getting the same thing as always. So for 2009 will you join me? Let’s take some chances, fly with the wind, dare to risk. Let’s stick our necks out. Here’s a list of some of the things you might try:
Write a book proposal for that idea you have.
Speak at an event, or join a speaker’s bureau, to get your feet wet.
Make an appointment to talk to an editor or agent at a conference.
Submit to three new markets.
Begin to work on your novel (you know you’ve been thinking about it!).
Take a class to beef up your writing skills.
Join a writers group.
What else can you think of that is outside of your comfort zone? It might be a little scary and feel quite uncomfortable, but pretty soon if you keep doing it you’ll become more and more at ease with stretching, growing, and blowing in the wind.
Fly with me in 2009. And if you want accountability, send me a quick email to tell me WHAT you plan to do…and then as Nike says, “Just Do It!
I just uploaded the form on the web that helps registrants know what the publishers, editors and freelancers want to see and are willing to critique. It’s the most important form for writers to see so they can make intelligent decisions as to what person they want to peruse/critique their pre-conference manuscripts. Have at it, writers!
Keep praying for more writers to sign up even though the economy is difficult at the moment. We’re excited about what God wants to do through this time together.
Thanks so much,
Rachel Williams Director, Christian Writers Conference
The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference has long been the standard by which all others are judged. I attended their first more than 30 years ago and have been back nearly 20 times. It’s been a kick to see it grow.
It may seem strange for someone who hosts his own writing conference every year to, in essence, endorse the “competition.” But I’ll admit it: Our Christian Writers Guild’s Writing for the Soul conference patterns itself largely after the Mount Hermon conference. It was there I learned especially the value of a deep lineup of workshops and exposure to book and magazine editors and veteran authors to evaluate manuscripts and counsel people on their writing futures.
Mount Hermon also offers inspirational keynote speakers and great music, and the friendships and professional relationships begun there can last a lifetime. My entire adult life has been immerced in writing, editing, and publishing, and I still like to attend writers conferences as a conferee. No matter where a writer is in his or her journey, we all need to remain lifetime students of the craft.
Jerry B. Jenkins
New York Times best-selling author of the Left Behind books and Riven; owner of the Christian Writers Guild
I cannot begin to recommend the Mount Hermon Writers Conference enough! It’s always held Psalm Sunday weekend in the awe-inspiring redwood forests of CA. I credit this conference (God-inspired, of course) for landing my contract with Multnomah for my passion book, Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer.
Just so you know, I didn’t sign a contract there, but met the editor who would champion my book all the way to a contract. Networking is invaluable, especially these days when many publishing houses will not accept freelance work. It pays to know someone. Editors are looking for fresh talent at conferences. That is one major reason they participate. When you send in a query and submission to a publishing house and can say you met the editor at Mount Hermon’s Writers Conference, you’ll most likely get your project looked at.
So I encourage you to go to Mount Hermon’s Writers Conference. You will learn tons, make invaluable contacts, and begin wonderful new friendships. It’s not cheap, but nothing worthwhile is. If you can’t go this year, start saving your pennies for next year.
There are a number of wonderful conferences out there, but this one, hands-down is the best–la creme de la creme! And what other conference could beat those renowned redwood trees? Go for it!
One of our faculty members for the Head Start Mentoring Clinic sent in this e-mail this morning and a new video to encourage those of you who might not have considered this opportunity. Here is what she says in her own words:
I created this new video for the Mount Hermon Head Start Mentoring program that falls right before the conference April 1—3.
First off: No, I’m not going to make a career out of writing conference promotional videos!
But, I am really passionate about this mentoring program, offered right before the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. If you know of beginning to intermediate writers who would benefit from some one-to-one and group mentoring prior to the conference, consider steering them toward this clinic. It’s not often folks get to have a professional critique your work, help guide a career, and learn from other writers. This is a unique opportunity.
Check the Mount Hermon website for all conference information, forms and instructions you need to register. By the way, I’m one of the nonfiction mentors for Head Start, so if you’re writing nonfiction, there’s a good chance we might get to work together!
Got a little boost from Books & Such Literary Agency in Santa Rosa, CA this morning when Rachel Zurakowski (one of our faculty members for the upcoming conference and YA agent) wrote a little blurb about her participation. Thanks, Rachel!
This is a wonderful video taken in 2007 by a writer who attended Mount Hermon Writers Conference. It has such a joyful feel to it and will give you a very clear picture of the beauty of Mount Hermon’s campus, as well as the fun and learning that’s available for participants.
We’ve coming of age! Mount Hermon is now “blogging” with everyone else out there. Intentional information for writers, available writers resources, testimonials from published authors who got their start at Mount Hermon Writers Conferences in the past, and a myriad of other articles by and for writers will be posted here from this point on. We’ll be posting several times a week . . . hopefully you’ll subscribe to our blog and we’ll become a regular part of your blog reading, an encouragement to your call to write, and a viable resource for you. We welcome your comments to this new venue.
Our April 3-7, 2009 Writers Conference Children’s Writing Track Instructor (WOW, that was a mouthful!), Mona Hodgson, sent me a wonderful testimonial today and I wanted to share it with you . . .
“I can’t say that I had a dream to write. It felt more like a nudge . . . even a nagging. Be that as it may, I felt compelled to explore the possibilities. That’s what took me to my very first writers’ conference–Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in April, 1988. I’ve been a loyal fan ever since. Little did I know, as I took those first shakey steps, how crucial that conference would turn out to be for my 21 years (and still counting) writing career and ministry.”
When I was nine years old, I attended Redwood Camp for the first time. My parents were going through an extremely messy divorce. To help me escape and relax through this troubled time, my mom sent me to camp, where I bonded with an empathetic counselor, someone who patiently listened to the fears and challenges my friends at home could not always appreciate. This solace brought me back to Redwood year after year.
When I was too old to attend as a camper, I began volunteering in the Redwood Camp kitchen. And finally, during college, I returned as a counselor. Within my first week of counseling, I found myself sitting on a familiar bench one night beneath the stars, cradling a nine-year-old camper who wept over a broken relationship with her father. This experience repeated itself several times throughout the summer. It seemed my cabin was a magnet for such kids. My painful past, which at one time had been a source of shame, was transformed into a beautiful account of survival that I could use to encourage campers going through similar experiences. Was this a coincidence?
During and after my college years at UCLA, God provided me unique opportunities abroad. Not only did I get to study in France – I also got to spend some time working on a hospital ship in the African country of Liberia. Returning to Redwood Camp for the summers, I was able to minister to several French-speaking campers as well as to a Liberian refugee who had come to Redwood as a camper. I missed Africa dearly that summer, and this girl’s mannerisms, accent and smile eased my spirit. We ate fried plantains (a common Liberian snack) on corndog day, and I loaned her one of my vibrant pieces of Liberian clothing so we could dress alike for twin day. Of all the summers in the 100 years of Redwood’s existence, Vivian came the very summer after I returned from Liberia. Coincidence?
I do not believe in coincidences, because I believe God ordains that people will cross paths at specific places and times, plans for a heartache in one person to stir hope in another, and uses small children to teach adults. Although my time at Redwood has ended, the summers I spent there remind me to look for purpose in encounters and to expect meaning in every situation.