Reflections of the 2016 Florida Christian Writers Conference

Last week, my son Justin and I were able to attend the Florida Christian Writers Conference (FCWC).10408976_10153839086320295_5314415994649472648_n It was the first time I had been back in over four years. For nearly a dozen years prior, the FCWC served as my yearly spiritual retreat—a time to refresh, connect with other writers, and focus on honing the craft. I had forgotten how important it is to get away and be with other like-minded people, all seeking to serve Christ through writing.

Since I last attended FCWC, Billie Wilson, who ran the conference for over twenty years, passed the torch to Eva Marie Everson and Mark Hancock. I have known Eva Marie and Mark as fellow writers for a long time, but it was my first look at the conference under their direction. They, and the entire staff, have really ushered in a new season for the FCWC, while keeping Billie’s vision for the conference intact. The conference was organized, packed full of incredibly talented writers and teachers, and really, really fun!

Robert Benson was the keynote speaker and was nothing short of amazing. His insights, humor, and passion for writing were infectious and inspirational. He challenged us to give our very best effort in every word, sentence, paragraph, and page.

I attended Brian Bird’s screenwriting class, where we studied the hero’s journey and dug deep into story. We broke down movie clips and discussed the power of each scene. He brought a fresh and innovative way to look at storytelling, whether you write screenplays or novels. We were also given the privilege of viewing some of his past work. If you ever get the opportunity to attend a class with Brian, please do. I came away with a new perspective on the writing life.

I was also blessed to reconnect with many old friends and make a few new ones, and I attended some really great workshops to sharpen the skills.

Probably the best part of the whole conference was spending time with my son, talking about writing and worshiping together. You can’t put a price on something like that. I will not let that much time go by again between conferences. As a matter of fact, Justin and I are already excited for next year’s FCWC. Hope to see you there!