when only your heart gets to go: attending a conference long-distance

when only your heart gets to go: Attending a Conference Long-Distance via @GretLouise

Three years ago I soaked up all the Tweets and bade children be quiet as I fought slow internet to listen to the live stream of the speakers from a brand new Christian blogging conference I'd heard about. The next two years, each by a last-minute miracle, I got to go and be at Allume, soaking it all up in person. I've been on both sides. This year, as I looked at Influence, Declare and the other amazing blogging conferences popping up--all at least halfway across the country--I knew it was my year to be at home. To focus on finding community with the bloggers "next door." To invest in local ... Read More

for the conference goers who like to be prepared

for the Conference Goers who like to be Prepared via @GretLouise

There's nothing as exhilarating and overwhelming as attending your first writing or blogging conference. If you're an extrovert, you're probably like my Allume roommate Trina who thrived on the people and the crowds and pulled everyone into the photo booth with her. If you're a bit more of an introvert like Crystal, you probably won't survive a conference without scheduling some time for yourself and making a point to have those one on one conversations. As I reflect on my experiences at the Allume blogging conference and the Inland Northwest Christian Writers Conference, here are the tips ... Read More

you can’t write alone

when writers gather, kindred spirits meet...

Writing can be a lonely art. Blogging brings you instant community with your readers.  Twitter gives you something to do when you have writer’s block.  Facebook is a great place to get feedback on what you should write next. But the stringing together of words together, the editing and rewriting, it’s still a lonely task. That’s why I don’t believe we should do it alone. When writers gather, kindred spirits meet.  We may not get much writing done when we’re together, but we return to our desks with the knowledge that we’re not alone.  We sit back down at our keyboards with more ... Read More


“Stay where you can hear His voice.” It’s the lesson from Allume that keeps reverberating in my head.  When I want rules, when I want guidelines, Ann Voskamp’s words echo back. She told the story in parable form, as she does so well.  Their daughter asked how far she could go away from the church yard before it was “too far.”  She was looking for landmarks, guidelines.  The fence?  The trees? The Farmer answered: “When you can’t hear my voice calling your name any more, you’ve gone too far.” So simple, yet so profound.  It’s not that so many minutes doing ... Read More


Last Friday, their black and white words came alive when I heard each voice read her own creation aloud.  With the sound of her voice, her message took on the full color of life.  There was no losing her meaning with those inflections, those choked back tears. At Allume, I hugged women who’d been only avatars on the screen.  I heard the passion behind the websites, the tears behind the books.  Numbers and book contracts didn’t matter when we were together—it was our voices that made us unique, our stories that gave us meaning, our words the ties that bound us together. ... Read More

blogging conferences and corndogs (guest post by Merritt)

corn dogs

Some of the Allume husbands are entering a drawing that requires a guest post on their wife’s blog. I think the purpose is to show how much blogging has improved our wives’ writing over those of us who don’t do it every day. So here it goes… -Merritt Blogging for my wife is a creative outlet that she can do while at home with three children, she can fellowship during the busy days of child raising when it can be so hard for her to get out of the house. She is able to connect with other like-minded women across the country. She can encourage and touch many more lives than it is possible for ... Read More

10 Things My Allume Roomies Should Know About Me


Last fall, I attended my first blogging conference, where I met some of my now dearest friends and closest blogging companions.  It was a last-minute realization of a long-cherished wish, and I loved every minute of it.  But I knew it wasn’t likely to happen again soon. This year, I knew (and said) all along that I couldn’t go to Allume because of this, this, and that.  I was perfectly at peace in staying home, and just soaking up the Twitter stream live, and the recordings and notes afterward. But then last Friday, a ticket to the sold-out conference became available, and I got a ... Read More

DIY double-sided business cards

DIY business cards from @GretLouise #Allume

I found out I was going to the Relevant blogging conference (now Allume) approximately 2 weeks , 2 days before I was supposed to get on the plane.  That left me with little time to do the one thing you know you’re supposed to do before going to a conference of any sort: order business cards. I priced out rush shipping from a couple places, but it was ultra expensive.  Besides, I wanted full-color, glossy, two-sided business cards, and I was way too cheap for that. So I decided to make my own.  Just like I’d done my wedding invitations—or almost.  And they cost me just a bit over 3 cents ... Read More