I love the radio, but not ‘that kind’ of radio.


Last weekend I joined my “twitter friends” at the Faith & Culture Writer’s Conference in Portland. It was my second year attending and most likely not my last.  The ironic thing is I am so far behind in work that I’m going to quickly summarize my highlights instead of stewing over my post like the tortured writer I feel like sometimes.

Highlight 1: This year I attended a ‘special guest’ and was given the privilege of meeting with people as a spiritual mentor. What I really did was coach people.  Even though the conference planners asked me to come, I don’t think my offerings were very well communicated to the conference attendees because I heard more “what? I could have done that?” than I had actual meetings.  However, the ones I had were fantastic.  Coaching can be so helpful for writers, especially when facing insecurity, writer’s block or lack of direction.  Stay tuned for more on this because I will be doing a guest post for Micah Murray soon!


Here we are at Cha Cha Cha! (thanks for the photo Andee)

Highlight 2: Leading up to the conference I had the hilarious, fun and “I-never-thought-I-would-do-this” experience of being on Christian radio.  Yes, you read that right.  I, Jane Halton, was interviewed for an hour on Christian radio. The same people that tune into bad music and offensive sermons heard Andee Zomerman and I chat it up about coaching.  Andee, by the way, is the antithesis of Christian radio. Later that day she interviewed Rachel Held Evans (no. big. deal).

Highlight 3: I was chatting with Cara while stretching out my bad leg and instead of listening to “the guy who wrote the Shack” (yeah he was really there and it really didn’t interest me??). I asked her how her sessions were today and she said, “oh fine, but I really come for the people.”  So true.  I only went to two and a half sessions (and the key note speakers) because I was coaching the rest of the time.  But meeting for dinner at Cha Cha Cha! (thanks Stephen) and actually having conversations with my twitter friends and those I’ve met in The Clumsy Blogger Workshop was a highlight.

Highlight 4: Last but the opposite of least, one of my favourite friends, Julianne, flew in from Edmonton to join me on the road trip and conference. We had endless hours to discuss, as key note speaker Emily Freeman said, ALL THE THINGS (yes, she said it in ALL CAPS).

See you next year!






Well That Was Fun


A few quick reflections on my experience at the Faith and Culture Writer’s Conference

1. I am going to keep writing. In all honesty, I started a blog because of my coaching business and I wanted a way to connect with people online. But, whoa, I like it way more than that. I’m probably the worst “coach” blogger ever. Sorry folks, I am lacking in the inspirational quotes and “how to be less busy” posts. I’ll try to get around to that, maybe.

2. I really like writers.  I like coaching writers, yes, but I really just like writers. I just went to learn from writers I admire and meet some of my twitter peeps in Portland (I love saying that #hipsterfeel).

3. Sarah Bessey is doing some serious kingdom work. From the first day I read Sarah’s blog I felt connection. I was thankful for her Canadian voice in a sea of American bloggers. More than anything, I resonated with her experiences in a “like-minded” way. But this weekend, I saw more of the impact she is having on people. I’m not surprised, I loved Jesus Feminist too, but I talked to so many people who came to the conference specifically because of how much Sarah’s work had helped them, freed them up and encouraged them. You take that Canadian accent and you go girl.

4. I can dispel the idea that writers are often poor public speakers. Remember those college profs who were brilliant in their subject matter but horrible public speakers? Yeah, well, that was not the case this weekend.  WOW! I found there to be a bit too many “key note speakers” but do not ask me to pick which one should go. They…were..amazing. Speaking of great speakers, I’m so thankful that Emily is Speaking Up.

5. Live tweeting is kind of hard. Maybe I’m too old. I’m thankful for Dan & Stephen’s multi-tasking ability.  Here is my #latertweet:

“I could have constructed middle earth if I had a housekeeper” – @sarahbessey

6. Micah J. Murray’s session was so helpful in practical and ‘preach-it-Micah’ ways. Although I have to disagree with his premise of “I don’t know what I’m doing.”  He may not be an expert on everything he talked about but you don’t get half a million hits for one post, your first year of blogging and have no idea what you are doing. Brother, give yourself a little credit! You are great at what you do, even if you are new at it. And then he said this,

“I don’t want to be a Christian writer if it means speaking from the heart and then hitting backspace until it feels safe again.”  That my friends, was worth the price of admission.

7. This great tweet I saw in Aaron Smith’s aka @culturalsavage feed: “This is like one big awkward blind date”  @TamaraRice on meeting ppl at #FaithCultureNW.

Side note: twitter is the best.

8.  My reunion with Ben Emerson was such a joy. As strangers, we went on a trip to Japan with four others in 1999. He was a high school rock star and I was a twenty something random roadie for a band that only existed for a month. We hadn’t seen each other since the trip. Let a Christian writers conference bring us together?? Ok. I’ll take it.

9. Although I didn’t get to spend much time with the Story Session women, I was glad to meet them in person and look forward to getting to know them more this year. Also, I will read all the books they publish. There will be many books and they will be awesome. I’m looking at you Natalie Trust & Esther Emery.

10. Weekends away are good for my soul. And my traveling-to-random-Christian-events-buddy Dena Nicolai, lived up to her reputation for being awesome!

Did you go? What was your favourite part?