Saturday, June 09, 2007

Value of ACFW

Today's the 9th, isn't it.

If it is, I'm the person on tap to blog about American Christian Fiction Writers. One of the best things that happened to me is the day that Colleen Coble told me to join and attend the conference.
I love being a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). A key is getting to meet other writers. I'm a member of the Indiana chapter. In April I got to meet Judith Miller and Cyndy Salzmann at a book signing in Lincoln. It was an absolute delight to meet Judith... and Cyndy was exactly the kind of person I expected after our emails back and forth.

But conference takes the cake. I get to see friends from literally all over the country, gathered in one place with one purpose: to learn as much as we can about fiction while honoring God. It is amazing!

Nashville in 2005 was my first experience, and I was intimidated. Those of you who know me, probably think of me as out-going and hard-charging. That's true in a lot of areas, but in September 2005 I knew I was out of my league. Going to ACFW was like going to the Oscars would be for folks who love movies. I got to meet some of my all time favorite authors, the folks on the e-loop who had taught me so much, the majority of my crit groups that had taught me how to write. It was down-right overwhelming. At that point I didn't even have a completed manuscript. But I soaked in everything I could and enjoyed the experience. I was overwhelmed by how good God was...I walked out with three editors who wanted to see projects from me when they were finished, an agent who was interested, and a new project that I was excited about.

Fast forward a year.

In 2006 I was so eager to get back and reconnect with friends, and meet even more people. I also knew I had a lot more to learn. I also had a secret hope that maybe I would get a contract. But I didn't want to hope too much -- especially since the editor I had connected with was no longer with that particular house. Then I heard my manuscripts title read. It was such a kiss from heaven! That conference was a roller-coaster emotionally. Highs and Lows. Joys and doubts. But one I will never forget.

Now we're in 2007. I'm on the board of ACFW - yikes. I chaired the committee that waded through almost 150 qualified applications for approximately 25 slots. Double yikes. This is going to be the best conference yet. And I am so pumped.

So if you've ever had the dream of writing fiction, get thee to Dallas September 20-23. Registration opened June 1st, and the excitement is almost palatable. Click here to see more about the conference at the ACFW website.

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