More than just a writers conference

The Colorado Christian Writers Conference (CCWC) is home. Held at the YMCA of the Rockies every May, it is so much more than learning about the craft or getting published. It is about reconnecting with the Lord and listening to what He would have each writer do with his/her writing. It’s about family.

My first time at CCWC was in 2002. I have cerebral palsy, and most of the time I have to plan my trips. Someone would have to drive me and stay with me to help with my needs.

But not that first year. I was determined to be at the conference and convinced a friend to drive  me and drop me off. Even my mother didn’t know what I was up to.  I didn’t know anyone, where I would stay, and here’s the faith part, who would help me with my needs.

A faculty member’s husband  blessed me by hanging out with me for the entire conference. He didn’t know how to help me in and out of my wheelchair, and assisting with personal needs is not easy. Richard, however, had something that can’t be taught. A love for Jesus and his people that a little inconvenience doesn’t matter. I was much more mobile back then, but I still needed help and Richard was my right hand man at mealtimes and in my room.

Worship at CCWCThat was fourteen years ago. Since then, I’ve been to the conference many times. (I bring my own help now.) Have lots of friends, made many contacts, sold some of my writing, and have learned tons. One of my most memorable moment was meeting with a devotional editor and impressing him with my writing. He could not believe that I could type my devotionals out myself and present him with a clean manuscript.

“How did you do that?” he asked. “You must have had help.”

I just smiled and shook my head. I was a writer. I was trained to produce clean manuscripts. The editor promised to send me a contract to write some devotionals for him.

I met Dan Wooding, publisher of ASSIST news, because of CCWC. I didn’t attend the conference when Dan was on the faculty, but my friend, Bonnie, was on the look out for me. She emailed me after that conference and encouraged me to sign up for articles from ASSIST. It would be years before I would build up the courage to email a story to Dan. Once I did, I found an outlet for my writing.

The Christian writing world is small.

The 2015 CCWC featured a faculty of 56 authors, editors, and agents. Attendees could choose from 18 early bird workshops, 8 continuing sessions and 42 workshops or 4 hands-on clinics.

I almost didn’t attend the 2015 conference. Couldn’t afford it. I was happy with the direction of my writing. ASSIST was publishing my articles about disability ministry. People were reading my stuff and contacting me to either reprint my articles, asking for more information about the ministry, or sending encouraging notes.

One of my readers was Marlene Bagnull, the director of CCWC. She emailed me one day saying that she’s Tait and Kelly Speakingbeen readings my articles about disability ministry and invited me to speak a the conference. How could I say no?

That’s how I found myself at 2015 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Returning to the mountain was refreshing. I was able to speak one night about my ministry and how the church needs to more open to people living with disabilities. Took a class on spiritual warfare that fed my spirit and a class on bettering my website that helped me professionally.

Conference director, Marlene Bagnell, is always a pleasure to be around. Here is someone who runs one of the premier writing conferences in the country and she is concerned about what’s happening around the world. Not only did I spoke about disability ministry, someone spoke to us about prison ministry. One lady spoke about her ministry to orphans in Africa, someone else showed how to use the Logos Bible Study Software.

CCWC is always more about writing. It’s about reconnecting with friends and making new ones. It’s about time with the Lord and hearing His voice. I did both at this year’s conference. And I can’t wait to attend next year for the family reunion.

The 20016 Colorado Christian Writers Conference will be held May 11-14. For more information, please visit http://colorado.writehisanswer.com/