Recap of Conference Information & Etiquette You Need

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Today’s post has a lot of information that’s been covered in various placed. I thought it would be helpful to put it all in one place. I’ve gone through the questions I’ve seen in email, on Facebook and online and am trying to hit the high points of what most people want to know. If I don’t cover your question, leave a comment and we’ll answer.


Registration begins at 4pm on Sunday afternoon. To ease the time crunch, we’ve moved the Maximize Your Conference Experience orientation class back to 3 – 4 pm. This way you can attend the class then register.

Because our conference is following another big event we are going to need to be patient while we’re checking in. Personally, long lines frustrate me, but I realize that in certain instances it just can’t be helped. This is one of those instances.

Look on it as an opportunity to hone your spiritual gifts. Instead of condemning those hardworking souls trying to get all 500 of us checked in, let’s blow their minds with joy and kindness. Use this opportunity to practice networking skills and maybe make a new friend or critique partner.

Most of all I’ve had to come to the realization that God doesn’t waste anything in my life—even the waiting.


Our bookstore will be on the bottom floor of Johnson Spring, adjacent to the appointment room. It is stocked and operated by the Asheville LifeWay Christian Book Store. For the entire length of the conference, this is their space—just as if it were their brick and mortar store front.

To consign books, you should have already contacted us so we can get you on the schedule. If you haven’t, there will be a few spaces open on Monday. You will sign up for those times on Sunday evening, when you’re signing up for other appointments.

Book Signing

This event takes place on Tuesday evening and the bookstore will be open during this time so you can purchase additional books. Authors who are at the conference are welcome to take part in this event—whether they are faculty or conferees.

Meeting with Faculty

One of the highlights of coming to a conference like this is the opportunity to sign up for 15-minute appointments with our faculty. Sign-ups for faculty appointments will take place Sunday evening after the large group session. Each conferee will be allowed to sign up for two appointments on Sunday evening. Then, beginning Monday morning, you’ll be allowed to sign up for more. We do this to make sure that initially everyone has the same opportunities.

Some of you will have also signed up for paid critiques with faculty. Those appointments will already be listed on the sign-up sheets. You will still be able to sign up for the two 15-minute appointments that every attendee is guaranteed.

Deciphering the Classes

We offer three levels of classes.

  • Act I: These are basic classes in this discipline or genre. This level is a good choice if you’re new to a particular discipline of writing, or if you want to reinforce the foundation.
  • Act II: These are intermediate in this discipline or genre. These are the majority of our classes and will build on some basic knowledge.
  • Act III: These are more advanced in this discipline or genre. These are for those who really want to take this particular discipline to the next level.

These designations (Act I, II, and III) refer to that particular class. It’s possible that you are at an Act II or III level for nonfiction, but at an Act I for screenwriting. This is not an overall rating of where you are in general as a writer.

We also have three different types of classes offered at Blue Ridge. Although the length of each individual class session is always an hour and fifteen minutes long.

  • A Workshop is a stand-alone class. (One hour and fifteen minutes long) The instructor gives all the information for this class in one session. We do try to offer some of these workshops at different times, so students can fit them into their schedule.
  • A Continuing Class continues over several class times (each session one hour and fifteen minutes long). The instructor presents material that builds on what has been taught in previous class. These can be two, three or four class sessions in length.
  • A Practicum is a class where the students participate and come away with either an entire or partial project, like a query letter or proposal. A Practicum can be presented within a Workshop or Continuing Class, depending on the time needed for the project.

What to Bring

If you’re part of our Facebook group (Blue Ridge Conference Writers) and you should be—you’ll have noticed that we’ve been discussing one sheets, business cards, proposals, writing samples, etc. We do this to help you be prepared, not to scare you. If you want to just come and see what God has, then don’t stress about all the other stuff.

If you’re coming with the idea of pitching ideas and/or finding freelance work, then you’ll need to at least bring business cards and some samples of your writing.

The important thing to focus on is the fact that you’re coming. You have taken the first step and walked through the door God has opened. Only He knows where you’ll end up—but I guarantee it will be more awesome than you image…and different than you envision.

All this to say, “Don’t waste emotional energy worrying. God has this. He’s bringing you here for a purpose and it’s to bless, not to curse.”


What to wear? I get this one a lot. Truthfully, I try to present myself professionally. No, not suits or even necessarily business-OFFICE casual. A creative person’s business casual has a different vibe. We can get away with blue jeans and sandals. The idea is to look pulled together, not like you just tumbled out of bed and forgot to clean your clothes or comb your hair.

The bottom line is to always remember that even with the more creative dressing style, you’re meeting with people who have the potential to invest a LOT of money in you and your work. You want to inspire confidence in your ability to take on assignments like a professional.

Also, classrooms can be chilly, so I also recommend you pack a light sweater and dress in layers to insure comfort.


Be comfortable. There is a lot of walking involved. If you like cute shoes with heels, pack a pair of flats to get from one place to another and slip on the more stylish footwear when you arrive.


Expect rain. We’re in the mountains and afternoon showers are normal. This year, our chance of rain is higher than normal. If you have a weather app, program it for Black Mountain, NC. That will give you the most accurate weather forecast.


The cafeteria serves delicious food. They also code the offerings so you’ll know exactly what’s gluten free, dairy free, etc. If you have dietary restrictions go beyond that, call the conference center directly. (800-588-7222)

There is also Clouds Coffee shop. It will be open every day from 7am until 11pm. In addition to Starbucks coffee, they also have an array of sweets, sandwiches, and salads available for purchase.

There are also vending machines, but remember this is a Pepsi campus. If you want coke products you’ll need to bring them yourself or find someone with a car to take you to a local supermarket.

Keeping Track of Things

Here at the BRMCWC we don’t hand out a full-size conference booklet. Instead we provide an easy-to-keep-track-of trifold schedule that fits in your name badge holder.

If you’re the type who prefers full pages of descriptions that you can mark up, we offer a downloadable PDF list of classes on the website. You can print it out at home and bring it with you. Here’s the link to the downloadable PDF list of classes.

Also, Bethany Jett has provided a downloadable conference worksheet that you can print and fill out. Here’s the link for that: Downloadable Class Schedule

Finally, we have the smartphone/tablet app. Do a search for RIDGECREST EVENTS and download it. Everything in it is current now. Here’s a link to the blog post that gives you the details: There’s an App for That

Awards Night

Wednesday is our Awards Night. We’ll be announcing the winners of the Selah Awards, the Director’s Choice Awards, and the Foundations Awards. A lot of our faculty will be dressing up, but it is NOT required!!!

You’ll see everything from blue jeans to full-length formals. The important thing is that you’re comfortable.

We’ll also be live streaming the awards and live tweeting. The hashtag to follow is #BRMCWC. We’ll have updated information on how to watch from home on the Blue Ridge website.

If you have guests that wish to attend the awards gala, they’ll need to purchase a ticket ($20). The VERY LAST day we’ll be selling tickets to the awards reception is this Friday.

General Etiquette

If a faculty member’s 15-minute appointment schedule is full, It’s fine to ask a faculty member for another possible time to meet. You are welcome to walk with them to and from meals, classes, etc. You can find them in the evenings in one of the Mountain Laurel lobbies. BUT it’s never acceptable to infringe on private time. I really hate that I have to bring this up, but it’s not okay to follow them into the restroom and try to pitch something. It’s also a great way to leave a bad impression that will follow you the rest of your short career.

During meals, while sitting at a faculty member’s table, remember that you’re not the only one there. Do not monopolize the conversation. Give others a chance to talk, no matter how exciting it is to finally get to visit with your idol.

While in line for meals, encourage those with disabilities and faculty members to move to the front of the line.

This post has already gone on far too long. I’m going to end now, not because I’ve covered everything, but because I’ve run out of room. Take time to go back through the last couple of months of blog posts here on the site. You’ll find a lot of helpful information there. And if you still have questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below!


Of course I forgot something! Large Group meetings & conference recordings.

Large Group Meetings

I cannot stress how important it is to attend the large group meetings. It’s not just the AMAZING keynotes that we have lined up, but it’s the information you NEED TO KNOW. We do announcements at the beginning of each large group so you know what’s happening when things change. We also do give-aways and if you’re not present when we call your name, your freebie is given to the next person’s name we call.

Conference recordings:

These are ONLY sold at the beginning and end of large group sessions. And they’re ONLY sold during the conference. It will not be possible to order recordings once the conference is over. Recordings are $70 and we only accept CASH or CHECK. However, there is an ATM in the lobby of Prichell Hall (where you checked in).

Okay, unless I think of something else I forgot, this is really all I have! LOL!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Recap of Conference Information & Etiquette You Need

  1. So, the $70 recording is for all the general sessions? How about if you want a DVD of one particular class that you had to give up so that you could attend another? Or maybe if your 15 minute session conflicted with it?