I spent February 1, 2 and 3, 2013, at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, NC. I am now an official graduate of Writers Advance! Boot Camp 2013, a military- themed weekend which trains and encourages Christian writers. The conference is an arm of the ministry of Christian Devotions.
The Cove offers a gorgeous, spiritually charged setting for meeting with God and His people. As you pass through the gate, the atmosphere changes and you feel like you have stepped out of the world and into a replica of heaven.
The conference started on Friday afternoon with two early-bird classes. “Writing Big in a Little Space (copywriting)” and “Stressed Out? Chillax! Preparing Your Day to Build a Platform to Speak Out (the value of meeting God early in the day)” held our attention until supper.
The scrumptious supper, prepared by a gourmet chef, and the conversation over the meal was more than satisfying. Each table of eight was hosted by a Cove volunteer, mostly older women with a touch of Southern hospitality and graciousness in meeting the needs of their guests.
Cindy Sproles’ welcome included a charge to be like Johnny Appleseed, and spread the seeds of our talents wherever God places us. Delightful author and keynote speaker, Yvonne Leyman, shared the ups and downs of her career, illustrating the times she couldn’t see God’s light shining in her life by turning the lights off and turning the light down in a lantern on the podium. God’s light didn’t stay dark long before He showed up bright again and moved her along her path to success.
The day ended with snacks and an opportunity to meet other attendees, many gathering around the massive fireplace in the great room.
Saturday started out early and finished late. Each time slot offered two classes, one Infantry level (beginner) and one Officer level (advanced). When the day was over each person had taken seven classes, taught by award winning, published authors. We studied social media, blogging, writing for magazines, time management, platforms, publishing houses, point of view, scripting books for films, agents and publishers, genres, writing devotions, style, editing, and pacing a novel. Whew! Most of us were exhausted by evening’s end.
Vonda Skelton’s keynote address on
Saturday night, filled with transparency, highlighted the blunders she had made
along the way to becoming a successful writer and speaker. The audience was
rolling with laughter as she allowed us to laugh with her and learn from her
Sunday started with praise and worship, a State of the Ministry update by Eddie Jones, and brunch. While eating, God blessed me with a lovely wintery display as snow fell,bringing cleansing and peace to my heart as I prepared to come down off the mountain both physically and spiritually.
Over and over, I heard how God had blessed this one or that one, and I saw how they blessed others in return. My heart is filled with joy at the goodness of God.
Going out with joy because God is good-