Writers Conference: No Need to Fear

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


Jeanette Hanscome

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 jeaenttehanscome@sbcglobal.net.

Jeanette and Buddies



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8 responses to “Writers Conference: No Need to Fear

  1. Alice

    A very good article Jeanette, and if i was a writer and was planning to attend a conference i’d do my best to get into yours. God bless you and yours in all your endeavors. Alice..

  2. Jeanette

    Thanks so much for posting this, Kay!
    I look forward to meeting many eager, nervous, precious new writers at Mount Hermon this year.
    Blessings on your day,

  3. Thank YOU Jeanette! And thank you for all the time you give to this. It means a lot.

  4. I would not be writing today if it hadn’t been for all the instruction and encouragement I have gotten from Mount Hermon. I went the first year with a pile of published columns and articles, afraid to hear “Don’t quit…your day job!” But instead that first conference was really the start of an amazing journey I am still on. Take advantage of the buddy system that Jeanette puts together so that you can feel prepared, but more importantly so that another writer who has gone through the same fearful experience can be praying FOR you and WITH you…How cool is that!
    Fear is the enemies tactic to put forward moving Christians into neutral. Take a step of faith.
    Marci Seither
    a mom who writes

  5. Thanks, Marci. You know. You’ve been there and come out a success in every sense of the word!

  6. I was a newbie to Mount Hermon last year. I learned that Jeannette prays over each person before matching them with a buddy. After a couple conversations, I knew that my buddy, Joanne Reese, was chosen by God. She is amazing!

    This year, I signed up to serve as a buddy. It’s a wonderful opportunity to give back, building up the body of Christ by being available for questions and encouraging others with prayers and a friendly smile.

    Thanks for helping spread the word, Kay. I look forward to learning from you at Mount Hermon, this year.

  7. Jeanette

    Marci has been a wonderful buddy over the years. And I’m excited to have Xochi on the list this year with her gifts of encouragement and joy. Thanks so much to both of you for serving and for being such great cheerleaders for the Buddy System.
    Love you both,

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