The Conference I Couldn’t Wait to Leave — or–My Weekend at the Festival of Faith & Writing


Every other year I attend the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. Since graduating from high school, I’ve attended 8 of these conferences.

You can thank FFW for this blog (which I started after the 2010 conference). And, because of FFW, I wrote for the Burnside Writers Collective which gave my career a little boost. Oh. And I met Amelia Rhodes in 2010 at the festival. A lot of good has come from FFW.

Can you see why I was so excited for the 2014 conference? I was absolutely giddy! I remembered how remarkable it was in 2012, attending for the first time as a contracted author. I sat in one of the sessions and wished I could be there all the time. Constantly surrounded by writers. Always gleaning wisdom from the presenters.

This year was different.

I went from session to session, gulping all the information offered me. I was so encouraged by the humility of authors leagues ahead of me. I scribbled notes furiously.

People, I cried in almost every single session. Quietly, thank goodness.

I believe I learned more this year than any other. But I never once wished I could stay there forever. I was eager to soak in the knowledge and then get back to my novel.

This year was different because I have work to do. By Friday evening my fingers were itchy to get back to it. I had a whole day left with some of the most impacting presentations to attend. And it all just built up the pressure to get this novel out of me. Onto the paper. Into the hands of readers. Then dive into the next novel. And the next and the next and the next.

At the Festival of Faith and Writing, I filled my well so that I can pour it all out in my writing.

And, speaking of my writing, I’ve got to get to it.

Interestingly, Bonnie Grove (author of the brilliant Talking to the Dead) wrote a post about this kind of thing at Novel Matters (if you’re a writer you must, MUST follow that blog). Click HERE to read what Bonnie had to say.

14 Comments on “The Conference I Couldn’t Wait to Leave — or–My Weekend at the Festival of Faith & Writing

  1. I shed more than a few tears this year also. In 2012, I left the conference armed with technique. This time, I left realizing I kept company with people who suffered well.


    • Yes. This year was full of authenticity. I so appreciated that. Such a moving and inspiring weekend.

      Larry, I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet you. It was a crazy weekend and full of great memories. Hope to see you next time!


  2. Yes, another great FFW! I think I saw you at the conference sampler session. I loved Yang’s lecture on art and selfishness. With a job and family, the topic hit home for me. I’m always amazed at the tidbits of info you can pick up in sessions in which you didn’t expect to learn that much.


    • Hi, Jeff! I think I might have seen you, too! I agree, Yang’s talk impacted me greatly. I wrote both of my published novels with my 3 kiddos tottering around the house. So far they don’t seem to have missed out because of it. I’m glad you enjoyed FFW. It’s a wonderful conference!


  3. So glad the weekend was rich for you! I felt that same itch and it was so great to plunge back into my novel yesterday. FFW really gave me some good momentum to continue with my book. It was wonderful to follow you around for those last couple sessions and catch up a bit.


    • Jessie, I honestly think this year was better in most ways. In my experience, this was one of the better FFW’s. I’m so glad you and Heather were able to come again!


  4. So great to see you last weekend!!! I completely agree with sitting there and wanting to be there forever!!! I always feel like I am at home among my people when I am at that festival….LOVE the hearts of all of those wonderful writers, thinkers and readers. It is such a beautiful thing!! Your blog looks great, by the way!! (:


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