Okay, I’ve already touted the benefits of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, as have a number of other bloggers. But several people e-mailed me and whispered (virtually): “I want to go. I should go. But… but… I’m scared!” For them and any others who have doubts: Here is a helpful guest blog from Jeanette Hansome:
Help for the Scared-out-of-their-Mind
I’ll never forget my first Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. I arrived on campus in April 1995 excited, eager to learn, and scared out of my mind. I had a tight enough grip on reality not to go with overblown expectation, but I had a pitifully long list of fears. What if I got lost? What if the lady on the phone was wrong and I did need to sign up for workshops ahead of time? What if no one talked to me? What if the two stories that I sent in for critiques revealed that I stunk at writing? What if I couldn’t find my locker? (No wait; that was in seventh grade.)
Fast forward 17 years and I am not wandering the Mount Hermon grounds still looking for my room because I got lost and no one stopped to help because that would require talking to me. In fact, all of my fears got put to rest within 24 hours. I now oversee The Buddy System, a program especially intended for excited, eager, scared-out-of-their-mind newbies.
The Mount Hermon Buddy System was designed to help new registrants arrive at the writer’s conference with as many of their questions, concerns, and fears settled as possible. Those who sign up have a pre-conference resource—someone to pray for them and help them . . .
- Set realistic goals
- Know what to expect
- Be more open to what God might have for them at the conference
- Prepare to pitch projects to editors (if they plan to)
- Understand the ups and downs that come at a long, information-packed conference where they might face disappointments and where God often meets people in unexpected ways
- Work through nervousness and doubt
At the conference, buddies provide . . .
- A familiar face
- Someone to check in with
- Someone to listen when discouraging hits and to celebrate with over exciting possibilities
Those who have participated in the past say that the Buddy System helped them feel welcome at this friendly but rather large conference. They felt better prepared and less overwhelmed. Those who serve as buddies find that the blessing goes both ways. There is something uniquely exciting about passing on tips and encouragement that we once needed.
So, you might be wondering, how can you get involved?
1) If you are attending for the first time, simply contact me and ask to be added to the list. I will send you a few questions that help me in the process of matching people up.
2) If you are a returning registrant, I need a lot of buddies to make the program run smoothly. Even if you’ve only attended once, there are ways for you to serve.
I start matching first-timers with buddies a month before the conference. To sign up or learn more, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeanette and Buddies