Archive for the ‘Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference’ Category

Do you feel called to “write His answer” and yet struggle with self-doubts?

Truthfully, through working with hundreds of writers through the years, I find that the those who have a message that needs to be published are the ones most likely to be crippled by self-doubts.

I shudder when I think of how many times I almost gave up because my self-doubts were so loud and insistent. Why would anyone want to read what I wrote? What made me think that I could write for the Lord? I wasn’t qualified! How could He possibly use someone who was only a high school graduate? I felt ashamed and woefully inadequate.

cross in sand

How it must have grieved the Lord when I failed to see
that the Cross turns my minus into a plus –
when I believed the lies of the evil one instead of His promises.

And how much time I wasted in my self-centered and selfish focus on my doubts instead of on the needs Father was calling me to address through the words He would give me if I would just trust Him.

I’m so grateful that I didn’t give up despite the deadly Ds of disappointments, doubts, and discouragement. And I continue to thank the Lord for my pastor who sent me to my first writers conference. That was over 40 years ago, and that conference changed my life!

Today I have the privilege and joy of directing not just one but two Christian writers conferences. Registration is now open for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, our 34th year of ministry.

The website has not yet been proofread and I still have lots more info to add, but the list of 53 faculty and descriptions of our 20 early bird workshops, 8 continuing sessions, 42 workshops, and 4 clinics are online. Faculty photos, bios, and info on this year’s Teens Write will be coming soon.


And it’s not too late to register for the May 17-20 Colorado Christian Writers Conference and to request free one-on-one appointments with the faculty of 56 agents, editors, and authors. It’s also not too late to apply for a clinic:

Fiction Clinic with Jim & Tracie Peterson
Nonfiction Book Clinic with Craig Bubeck
Speakers’ Clinic with Roy Hanschke

But do it now! (That’s a great motto for writers who are tempted to procrastinate.) The April 15 price has been extended through today, April 18.


Father, thank You for the ideas You have planted within us and for holding them and us safely in Your hands. Help us to believe, to really believe in You and the gifts You have entrusted to us and expect us to use to build Your Kingdom.

God never changes his mind
when he gives gifts
or when he calls someone.

Romans 11:29 GW

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Today we remember how Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the crowds cheered, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Yet less than a week later they shouted “Crucify him!”

Jesus entering Jerusalem

None of this caught Jesus by surprise. Indeed, we’re told in Hebrews 12:2 (TLB) that “He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards.”

Have you stopped to consider that you are the reason for His joy?

Years ago my pastor’s wife told me that if I was the only person on this earth, Jesus still would have come and died just for me.

We know that He is coming again but that He tarries because He does not want even one to be lost. And so He is calling you, He is calling me, to “Get His Word Out.”

An outline of this message – really a Bible study that I’ve given several times as a keynote – is available online. I hope you’ll download it and make time to prayerfully consider the passages. This week as you focus on Jesus’ passion, ask Him how He wants to use you to share His love with those who do not yet know He loved them enough to go to the cross.

Our story – One of the most powerful ways to reach those who do not yet know Jesus as Savior and Lord is through stories of our encounter with Him. If you live in the Lancaster, PA, area I encourage you to come this Tuesday morning to the workshop I’m teaching on “Writing the Personal Experience Story.” It’s also available on CD.

PE wksp

– The price for the May 17-20 Colorado Christian Writers Conference increases April 16. I know the Lord will meet us on the mountain and encourage and equip us to “write His answer.”


Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, July 26-29
I am rejoicing for the 52 agents, editors, and authors that Father has called to serve on the faculty. I’m beginning the process of updating the website and hope to open online registration April 17.


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Pray that the LORD our God will show us
the way we should go and what we should do.
Jeremiah 42:3 TEV

  • Please pray for CCWC conferees as they choose the faculty they want to meet with at the May 17-20 conference. Father, please help them to take advantage of the wealth of info we’ve provided and to not rush their decision.
  • Please ask Father to show me how He wants me to respond to the requests for scholarship help.
  • Pray for writers who are struggling to justify the cost of a conference because they haven’t yet been made much (or any) income from their writing. Father, please encourage them to believe in You and the gift of words You’ve entrusted to them.

If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind; and every decision you then make will be uncertain, as you turn first this way and then that. If you don’t ask with faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer. – James 1:5-7 TLB

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Fact or fantasy?

All you have to do to be a successful writer is to sit down and write.

Well, yes, certainly you’ll never be a writer (successful or not) if you don’t write. But the days when all a writer needed to do was to write are history.

In today’s world it is essential that we master technology. Okay, we won’t master technology, but it is critical that we know the basics of how to use a computer. And that doesn’t mean just learning how to use Microsoft Word to create a professional looking manuscript that is properly formatted and has headers and page numbers. The wise and brave will learn how to use Scrivener. (Debbie Allen is teaching a 4.5 Wednesday afternoon early bird workshop on “Scrivener from 0-60: Get Comfortable, Get Writing” May 17 at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut the actual writing and learning how to use the great tools we now have is just part of what we need to do. I began writing on an old manual typewriter. Well I’m not as old as this antique typewriter although I do remember my grandfather had one in the basement. My first manuscripts for publication were created on a blue Royal with keys that got tangled when I typed too fast.

Selectric type ballThe introduction of the Selectric typewriter and that marvelous spinning ball greatly increased my productivity. And to be honest, when computers were introduced, I was not at all interested in giving up my trusted Selectric and learning something new. (I really didn’t think I was smart enough!)

Even today, when my computer is causing me grief, I admit I almost long for the good old days of a yellow legal pad and pencil!

The greatest struggle though is all the other stuff that has become essential. Yep! I mean the “building a platform” stuff. While it’s exciting to be able to write something and publish it ourselves as a blog or ebook, the challenge of finding readers is daunting.

Both the May 17-20 Colorado and July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will provide help with


     Creating a Brand

                    Marketing Plans

           Public Speaking

                       Social Media How-to

     Website Evaluation

Below is a chart of Colorado faculty members who are available for one-on-one appointments to help you grow your platform and thus your writing ministry.


Important: For a PDF of the above chart click here.
The links are live in the PDF version.

Father, help us to embrace today’s opportunities to reach the world with the words You’ve entrusted to us. When we feel confused and overwhelmed by all we need to learn and to do, help us to trust You. Thank You for Your promise:

Now you have every grace and blessing; every spiritual gift and power for doing his will are yours during this time of waiting for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB


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cross-1448946__180I’ve often said that I believe writers are on the front lines of the intense battle for the hearts and minds of men and women, boys and girls. And I’m often reminded of what Jim Watkins said to me years ago (not an exact quote): “You can’t get hundreds of people together excited about writing for the Lord and have the devil say, ‘Isn’t that nice.’”

Scripture confirms that we are in a battle:

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12 NLT)

The Message paraphrases this in sobering words:

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. (Eph.6:12 MSG)

It is critical, as Ephesians 6 goes on to say, that we put on the whole armor of God and that we pray.

Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time. (Eph. 6:18-19 MSG)

Although the season of planning and directing the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference is just beginning, the warfare is already intense. Much prayer is needed.

In response to the counsel of MK (the missionary who has talked about her ministry to victims of human trafficking at the past several conferences), Charles Patricoff who will be keynoting in Colorado on “Strategic and Tactical Prayer” (click here for his blog), and staff member and prayer warrior Laura Shaffer (click here for her powerful Daily Bible Prayer blog), I plan to share specific prayer concerns weekly. I hope you’ll enlist in the prayer team by clicking “Follow Blog via Email” in the top right hand column.

  • Pray for the almost 3,000 recipients of the brochure for the Colorado conference, asking God to encourage them to seek His will for their writing and to not give up if they are feeling discouraged.
  • Pray for those who feel God is calling them to register, but financially don’t see how they can afford the cost, to trust Him to provide. Father, please give them the courage to ask for help from their family, friends, and church and expand the conference scholarship fund.
  • Pray for me as I juggle the details for both conferences that seem overwhelming. Father, You know I often question my ability, but I choose to give you my availability. Please help me to keep my eyes on Jesus and not fall victim to the deadly Ds of doubt and discouragement.
  • Pray I will be keenly aware of Father’s leading as I finalize the faculty and workshops for the Philly conference and begin work on the brochure and website.
  • Pray God’s Ephesians 3:20 blessings on Barb Haley, our extraordinary registrar and appointments coordinator for both conferences.

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question-exclam-ptWhen I began writing for publication over 40 years ago, opportunities to learn the craft were limited and there was only one writers’ conference on the East Coast. I’ll always be grateful for my pastor who sent me to the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference. That conference changed my life and launched me on an Ephesians 3:20 journey.

I believe going to one or more writers’ conferences every year  is critically important for those who have not yet published (or even submitted a manuscript for publication) as well as those who are publishing regularly. The opportunity to grow your writing and marketing skills, to learn from and meet with established authors, and to pitch your ideas to agents and editors can change your life even as it has mine.


That’s why I’ve kept on keeping on directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference for 21 years and the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference for 34 years. (The July 26-29 Philly conference is in the planning stages.) It’s meant I have far less time for my own writing, but I have no doubt I make a much greater Kingdom impact through directing the two conferences and teaching at my writing seminars. I have to admit, however, that if Father had told me at the first conference I attended that one day I’d be directing not one but two conferences, I would have told Him I wasn’t qualified and I would have run the other way!


As I flip through the 16-page brochure for the May 17-20 Colorado Christian Writers Conference, I am amazed at what Father has enabled me to put together. It is certainly beyond what I could have ever imagined or dreamed over 40 years ago.

But what to choose? In addition to 42 workshops (you get to choose six or apply for a clinic), 15 early bird workshops, keynotes, panels, and one-on-one appointments (full-time conferees get FOUR 15-minute appointments), here’s a quick peek at our eight continuing sessions. Choosing just one isn’t easy!

Compassion rocks fixed
The Chase  
with D.J. Williams – Create a roadmap to chase your cause-driven novel in this interactive workshop that dives into the structure that moves novelists and screenwriters to write stories that make a difference in the world.


You Can Indie Publish and Market Your Book
with Sarah Bolme (director of CSPA, the  Christian Small Publishers Assn.) – Gain the knowledge and tools  you need to publish and market your book affordably.

Writing Powerful Narrative Nonfiction
with Sherri Langton – You’ll learn how story communicates biblical truth, where to find ideas, and how to be sure an idea is marketable.

The Courage to Write 
with Judy Couchman – Build a solid foundation for your writing ministry by learning from an author who felt just as scared as you when she started. Now she has traditionally published 44 works.

Develop & Market Your Nonfiction Book
with Mike Loomis –  Explore a market-driven approach to creating a nonfiction book, from premise to press release.

Reaching Women through Writing & More
with Linda Evans Shepherd – From the podium, to written word, to Web publications, and to Internet video, Linda will help you formulate a plan to build your ministry to meet the needs of today’s women.

Think Big2
Writing that Changes Lives
with Bill Watkins – Learn how writing that connects, challenges, provokes, inspires, casts vision, provides hope, and refuses to back away from telling the truth can change lives and eventually cultures.

Market Your Message without Selling Your Soul
with Eryn Lynum – Learn how to create a healthy, growing platform and marketing plan along with the importance of remembering the “why” of your writing so you don’t become lost in the marketing.

Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.
Ephesians 3:20 (TLB)

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Discouraged faceSomeone has said you’re not a professional writer until you’ve received one thousand rejection slips. One thousand! That’s a lot of disappointments, especially if, like me, you’ve struggled all your life with feeling rejected.

“Why, God? Why aren’t you opening the doors?” It’s a legitimate question; but if we listen closely, we may find the tone of our voice bordering on a whine.

Diagnosis? Disappointments have made us vulnerable to discouragement. Left unchecked, doubts will get a stranglehold on us next. Then despair will follow as the Deadly Ds disable us. I know. I’ve been there. [Yes, I’ve gotten over one thousand rejection slips, but I’ve also made over one thousand sales and have published nine books.]

The Evil One knows where you’re most vulnerable. The more he sees you as a threat, the more fiercely he will attack. Can we recover from the Deadly Ds? Of course, as long as we submit ourselves to the care of the Great Physician. But we must remember that the virus will always be latent. We need to faithfully follow the Doctor’s orders:

Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord.
1 Peter 5:8-9 TLB

New WHA coverThe above excerpts from chapter 26 of my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers, ring as true today as when first published 25 years ago. Click here to read the entire chapter, “Conquering the Deadly Ds.”

Far too often I see gifted writers give up –  writers who I truly believe are called by God to write His answer. That’s why I keep on keep on directing two Christian writers conferences. May 17-20 is the 21st year for the Colorado conference; July 26-29 the 34th year for the Philly conference.

About half of the faculty for Philly is chosen, but I’ve not yet begun updating the Philly website. The faculty of 55 agents, authors, and editors is in place for the Colorado conference. Click here to see who is coming.


I’m still choosing the 57 workshops we’ll offer in Colorado, but the 8 continuing sessions are in place. Click here for descriptions of each as well as the bio of the instructor.

 The Chase (for novelists & screenwriters)
D.J. Williams – Executive Producer, Director, Author

You Can Indie Publish & Market Your Book
Sarah Bolme
Director, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), Author

Writing Powerful Narrative Nonfiction
Sherri Langton
Associate Editor, Bible Advocate Now What? ezine
Freelance Writer

Writing that Changes Lives
Bill Watkins
Author; Senior Editor, BroadStreet Publishing Group

Develop and Market Your Nonfiction Book
Mike Loomis
Book Developer, Editor, Ghostwriter, Literary Agent

Reaching Women through Writing & More
Linda Evans Shepherd
Author, Speaker, Publisher
Founder/Director, Advanced Writers & Speakers Assc. (AWSA)

Market Your Message without Selling Your Soul
Eryn Lynum
Author, Marketing Specialist

The Courage to Write
Judith Couchman
Author, Speaker, Writing Coach

Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.
Galatians 6:9 TLB

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