My plane arrived in my hometown 15 minutes early – allowing me time to grab my luggage and walk to the curb just as Rob, my husband, pulled up in our minivan. Both girls were smiling and waving from the back with shouts of “Mommy, we missed you!” I couldn’t hand out the hugs and kisses soon enough. Rob greeted me with a kiss and took my luggage as I settled into the van. And then, my oldest daughter asked the best question ever, “Mom, is your book published yet?” I love her faith that God would hear her prayers for her momma and I love her confidence in her momma’s writing.
This summer I attended the She Speaks 2017 Conference hosted by the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team; it was my second time attending the conference and I was not disappointed. She Speaks is an excellent conference for aspiring writers, speakers and women in ministry and exists to encourage and equip women as they communicate God’s word through writing, leading Bible studies, connecting online and speak to groups of all sizes.
As a blogger and aspiring author I attended the conference hoping to develop my craft, and meet with representatives of the publishing community with the intention of selling one with my pitch and convincing them that my book was perfect for their publishing House. If you are considering attending the next She Speaks Conference here are my top 5 Reasons for doing so:
1. Develop Your Craft.
Whether you are a blogger, aspiring author, speaker or ministry leader the conference provides different tracts offering sessions presented by experts from all fields that are certain to meet your specific needs and interests. Sessions were categorized as “Writing”, “Speaking”, and “All”. They are also identified as for “Beginners” “Advanced” or “All”. And, after the conference you have the opportunity to order digital recordings of the sessions you were not able to attend. Session topics in 2017 included:
- How to Get Started Writing a Well-Constructed Book
- How Social Media Makes You a Better Communicator
- Conquering Your Fear of Public Spacing
- Guarding Your Capacity to Pace Your Race
- The Verses that Keep Me Up At Night: The Risks and Responsibilities of the Christian Writer
- How to Write a Book
- How to Get Invited Back
- How a Small-Time Blogger Can Actually Get a Book Contract
Conference attendance for She Speaks caps at 700; however, but the time you add Conference staff you’re nearing 800. And, just shy of 100% of those in attendance are women. I don’t believe that there is any other writer’s conference of this size focused on serving women. The size of the conference might be intimidating but there is an intimacy that defies sheer numbers.
A sense of community exists months in advance of the conference, largely due I believe to a private Facebook group set up for attendees. There are over 600 members in the 2017 She Speaks group, sharing everything from platform building tips to roommate requests. We share our social media and blog sites and in doing so help build each other’s platforms. The group is also a great place for first timers to connect with individuals who have previously attended the conference – allowing for the sharing of tips and encouragement and even services (editing, IT, etc.).
3. You Want to Write a Book
Not everyone wants to write a book, but if you do this is the Writer’s Conference to be at. Each year attendees the indicate they are on the “Writer’s Track” are asked whether or not they would like to participate in publisher appointments. This year the She Speaks Conference featured 20 different Publishers and Agents. Attendees that indicate they are interested in appointments are asked to rank their top 5. Assignments are then made by She Speaks staff to setup the appointments. In 2016, I attended the conference and had two appointments. This year I had three. Also, the Proverbs 31 Team doesn’t just setup these appointments and leave you hanging, they also arrange for pre conference calls attendees can purchase to walk them through one sheets, book proposals, and the appointment itself. The Proverbs 31 Team wants Conference attendees to be successful and works hard to provide the tools to make sure they are.
The first year I attended the Conference I needed to be there. I went for the writing expertise and Publisher appointments but came back encouraged and loved on by a whole new team of women with whom I developed amazing relationships. The truth is, you can’t go to a Christian Writer’s Conference and not expect that you are going to get more than your fair share of Jesus and that’s one of the best things (in my mind) about She Speaks.
Whether you connect with the message the authors are sharing or that of the Worship team – you cannot avoid coming face-to-face with Jesus. And, that’s without mentioning the beautiful prayer room and the countless attendees that spent time praying with and for each other.
5. You Need Some Girl Time
Look there are a lot of reasons to attend a conference and I’m not even going to pretend that a break from the fam might not be one of them. Where else would you get the chance to hang with so many Jesus loving women – without the kiddos and or hubby!? And, did I mention the hotel where the Conference is hosted features a Spa and a Starbucks – or that there is a huge outlet mall within drop off distance for the hotel shuttle? Notably, the hotel offers a free large breakfast which includes omelettes made to order. Momma – you can eat breakfast without lifting a finger and drink your coffee before it gets cold! It is almost too good to be true – what more do I have to say?
The She Speaks 2018 Conference is July 26-28 in Concord, NC at the Hilton Embassy Suites. The conference site hasn’t been updated yet but registration usually opens at the end of February/first of March. Here’s an insider’s tip: call and reserve your hotel room early. They sell out very quickly.