The year, 1988.
A writer as green as spring grasses arrived at the San Jose Airport, looked for the Mount Hermon Shuttle Sign, boarded a van, and began an adventure into the publishing industry that resulted in long-lasting relationships that deepened her spiritual roots and nourished her as a writer and speaker.
Me. Mona Hodgson.
Twenty-seven years and hundreds of publishing credits later, I still look forward to returning to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference every spring.
Now it’s your turn. You’re the one arriving at the conference for the first time. And you’re probably feeling as green as spring grasses. Excited. Nervous. Maybe even scared.
I offer 15 Tips and Tidbits that I hope will help prepare you for your God-ordained adventure at Mount Hermon!
2. Are you flying in and using our San Jose Airport Shuttle service? Did you send in your Airport Shuttle Request Form? At the airport, go to Terminal B Baggage Claim and look for a friendly face. Bob, Linda, or Marci will be waiting for you and holding a Mount Hermon Shuttles sign.
3. Upon arrival at Mount Hermon, go to the Administration Building (beside the Mount Hermon Post Office). That’s where you’ll check in, receive your room key, and your conference packet.
5. Take advantage of the free critique available as part of the pre-conference manuscript submission feature. Even if you plan to pitch to an editor or agent, make sure at least one of your two pre-conference submissions go to the Critique Team.
6. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be shy. New friends are waiting to meet you. Introduce yourself. Ask questions. The benches around the fire circle are a great place to meet and greet.
7. Make education a priority. It’s tempting to focus on the pitching, networking, selling yourself or your work, but be sure you engage in a Major Morning Track and afternoon workshops. Visit The Critique Team in the Hospitality Center (Multipurpose Room, below the Dining Hall). Get comfortable with the idea that your first foray will be a learning experience. Be sure to join Nick Harrison in the Auditorium, Friday, March 27th at 1:30 pm for the First Timers’ Orientation.
8. Remember, it’s not just about the writing. Or publishing. Be open to God’s plan for your conference experience. Anticipate and welcome the work God wants to do in and through you. One way to prepare for that is to come with prayer support. Ask friends and family to be praying for you.
9. Expect to be overwhelmed. It’s a normal reaction to information overload and over-stimulation. And it’s bound to happen more than once during the conference. Pace yourself. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to do it all, all of the time. Take a walk. Find a quiet corner or bench to breathe and pray.
10 Download “You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music onto your phone and listen to it every time you begin to have doubts. (Maybe not during a workshop or one-to-one appointment, but soon there after.) By the way, even faculty members and seasoned veterans experience doubt and insecurity. You’re not alone.
11. Set goals realistic with your level of experience. Prepare emotionally and spiritually for the fact that your expectations were probably unrealistic. Remember that you don’t know what you don’t know. Give yourself grace. That’s the beauty of the conference, it provides you with a place to learn what you don’t know.
12. The folks on the faculty have left families and desks that will pile high to meet you, to serve you. Sit with different ones at lunches and dinners. Introduce yourself to them and the others at the meal tables. They are coming to the conference to bless others and to be blessed by their Father.
13. Schedule time with God during the conference. Visit the A-frame chapel or one of the table in the field down the road from it.
14. Be open about any health problems or physical limitations that might impact you at the conference. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask for it.
15. When you can’t find the answers you need on the website, do you contact with
Do any of those tips and tidbits speak to you? I hope so.
I can’t wait to meet you!
2015 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference Coordinator