Omega Writers

Conference FAQ

What can I expect as a first time conference attendee?

You are coming to conference for the first time? Welcome! And thank you for taking this step of faith. We are so excited to have you and can’t wait to welcome you with open arms, to learn from your journey and share ours with you as well.

I’m Raewyn, the conference co-ordinator. Look out for me and I’ll say hi!

To help you, we will have a team of experienced conference attendees and staff ‘on duty’ wearing black Omega Conference shirts. Please feel free to ask these people any questions and treat them as your ‘go to’ people whenever they are wearing these shirts. We value you and don’t want you feeling lost or confused!

We also have conference chaplains, Carolyn Bourke and Jenny Glazebrook. One or both of them will be in the conference chapel, available to pray with you, speak with you or just listen to you vent if you need to.

My personal experience of conferences is that they can be wonderful, overwhelming, crush your dreams, build your expectations, and encourage you to achieve way more than you ever hoped all at once. You can come away exhausted, but I am certain that, like me, you will meet people who will become your closest friends and encouragers on your writing journey.

What are my travel options?

A designated conference shuttle will travel from Sydney domestic airport to the conference, leaving Sydney airport at 2pm and arriving at conference around 3-3.30pm in time for registration. It then leaves conference on Sunday at 1.30pm arriving at the airport at around 2-2.30pm. Please leave plenty of time either side for your arrival and departure. The shuttle can only park in the waiting bay for 15 minutes. You can book the shuttle through the website.
If you travel by car, there is plenty of parking available at the conference centre.

Do I need to stay for the whole conference?

No. You can choose to stay on site and receive all meals as part of your package, or you can come as a day guest, just paying for the days you attend and the meals you will eat. You can also be a full-time conference attendee, but stay off site, giving you the option of finding your own accommodation if you prefer.

What happens if I have special dietary needs?

You can let us know when you register if you have a medical condition and are unable to eat certain foods (e.g. gluten, egg, nuts etc). The conference catering team will assist with any or all of your needs. An additional charge of $11.00 will be made when you choose this on your registration. Main meals are eaten in the dining room. Morning and afternoon tea will also be provided, along with tea and coffee.

What happens when I first arrive?

There will be a registration table where you will collect your name tag, program and conference gift bag. You will also be given a map of the site (in the program) and a key to your room so that you can unpack. There will be time to settle in before the first session which everyone will attend in the main hall. If you feel lost, hosts wearing black Omega shirts will be able to help you.

What shall I pack?

Comfortable walking shoes. Although most of the rooms are fairly close together, some are upstairs and it’s amazing how much you can be on your feet at a conference. A few years ago I completely wore out a new pair of sandals. First mistake – trying to wear in a new pair of sandals. Better to focus on comfort rather than appearance.

Layers of clothing are good. Moving from room to room means varying temperatures. It’s good to be able to cool down and warm up as needed. Being comfortable takes away distractions.

A timepiece. If you are a time conscious person, a watch or mobile on silent is essential. I went without a watch one year and felt completely lost as I tried to follow the program and be where I needed to be.

Pen and notepaper! Make that lots of pens and a whole notebook! Expect to hear lots of good things worth remembering, but remember your mind has limited capacity – well, mine does, anyway. I still look back over my notes from past conferences to remind myself of the gems people offered. And for those of you who are more up to date than I am you might prefer to bring your laptop.

Money for the book shop. (Note, there will also be credit card facilities and bank transfers and cheques will also be accepted.) You might decide it’s a good strategy to not take money so you won’t be tempted. But if you’re going to buy books, this is the time to buy them! You will hear from many of the authors there, get to know them, and will kick yourself if you miss the opportunity to have them sign their book that you inevitably buy. And a book signed by its author is a treasure to give someone at Christmas.

Your work in progress. It’s always useful to have a sample of your work with you. You can apply some of what you learn straight away, or you may decide to take the opportunity to see an editor, publisher or consultant once you are there. Some are willing to take walk-up appointments. (Note this will cost you $50 per appointment and the consultant will not be able to pre-read any of your work). There will also be a chance to have your work critiqued by fellow delegates.

How do I get the most of out of my time?

It’s worth looking at the program on the website. LINK HERE Be aware presenters time slots are not entered until very close to the time of conference due to possible changes.

Decide which workshops you cannot miss. Then allow yourself to be flexible with the others. Once you arrive you may find you connect with a particular author and want to hear their presentation, or you may discover you actually need to brush up on certain techniques a presenter is speaking on.

Remember you don’t have to attend a workshop every session! Sometimes it’s better to get the rest you need or catch up with other people to make the best use of your time. A tired, overwhelmed writer suffering information overload will not get as much out of a workshop as they could. Better to take time to be refreshed and ready to learn again.

Be ready to look for mentors and networking opportunities.The Christian authors I have met at conferences are so different from other authors. They are not self-seeking and they are ready to share their wisdom and experience. I have come away from conferences with mentors, prayer supporters and writing friends who understand me like no other people can. Also be ready to share your own experiences. You have so much to offer as no other person’s writing journey is exactly the same as yours!

Make time for reflection.If possible, set aside time after conference to process. If you are travelling, this could be on the way home. If you live nearby, you may need to set aside some time. I can guarantee you will come away from conference with a head and heart full of much which needs to be prayerfully thought through and processed. Looking back over your notes and writing a plan for the next steps you need to take is a good idea.

Join with others in prayer.We have our chapel and chaplains, but we will also have host groups. These groups are to connect you with others and allow time for discussion, prayer and pastoral care. We will attempt to put you in a group with others who write the same genre as you and, if possible, who are from the same region as you. Conference can be a spiritual battle ground. Our God is all-powerful and loves us. Let’s not become so involved in learning how to use our gifts that we forget to communicate with and spend time with the one who gave us the gifts!

Allow yourself to keep your goals simple. Going to conference for the first time is a big step in itself. Expect to feel out of your comfort zone and be gentle with yourself. Remember it’s okay to come along and just soak it all up. You don’t have to show your writing to anyone if you don’t want to. Enjoy the chance to get away from your everyday routine and learn how to develop the writing gift God has given you.

How can I come mentally and spiritually ready?

Be the you God made you to be! Watching professional authors with years of experience can be intimidating and make room for self-doubt and discouragement. By all means, learn from the way a published author interacts, speaks and presents themselves, but remember we are individuals and God has given each of us special, unique gifts and individual stories to share. You have much to add!

Remember God’s plans are so much greater than your dreams.My first conference left me crushed. I didn’t know near as much as I thought I did. My book wasn’t the quality it could have been. My traditional publisher wasn’t really traditional and I’d spent a lot of money I shouldn’t have. I was ready to give up. But from that point I handed it all completely to God and He used it all for His glory and built me up, directed me, gave me greater opportunities than I ever dreamed.

Know you are likely to be overwhelmed.But remember that being overwhelmed is not necessarily a bad thing. It means God has opened your eyes to greater, bigger things. Not to discourage you, but to enrich, enable and encourage you in the direction He wants you to go. Maybe He is changing your direction, or maybe He is encouraging you on toward excellence.

Don’t make any major decisions at conference or immediately after. Unless you have clearly heard God’s voice I would encourage you to take time to seek God before making any major decisions. You will be tired and have information overload. You will possibly be riding an emotional rollercoaster. Let God speak into your heart and give you His perspective despite the ‘noise’ of conference.

Be aware that everyone is human – even multi-published authors and publishers. There may be some people who disappoint you. Ask God to help you be forgiving but discerning. Take it as an opportunity to learn what not to do or say to others. God used one ‘disappointment’ for me to direct me into a better path He had for me. I was ready to sign up with a subsidy publisher when he disappointed me by verbally attacking another publisher and showing his ignorance during a panel discussion. And God used that to direct me to the other publisher. Perhaps a mistake on his part, a disappointment to me, but something God used.

May God bless and use you this conference to build His Kingdom, encourage His people and bless His heart! We can’t wait to have you join us!  – Jenny and Carolyn, Conference Chaplains