Monday, July 11, 2011

It's Almost Here: ACFW Conference

This week I've started one of my favorite times of the year, running first time orientation for the ACFW conference. A few years ago we realized that approximately a third of our attendees any given year were first timers. I'll never forget my first time at conference in 2005.

I went with a fellow writer from Indiana -- a gal I'd met once or twice -- yet, we became fast friends in the six hour drive to Nashville. I met Tracie Peterson for the first time looking like a drowned cat -- boy, would I like a photo of that first impression! Am I ever excited that she is the keynote speaker this year!

I'm also excited though because this is the 10th ACFW conference. I haven't attended all, but I have attended each one since 2005. Why?

  • Because it's the one time a year, I get to spend time with many of my dearest writing friends. It really is like a giant (we're expecting 700 this year) family reunion.
  • I learn so much from the workshops and speakers.
  • I get to give back a fraction of what has been given to me. This year I'm co-teaching three workshops: one on research with Tricia Goyer (love her!) and two with super-agent Steve Laube and fellow author Rick Acker on publishing contracts and e-books. 
  • I get to celebrate with friends as the Carol and Genesis Awards are handed out at the Gala.
But why do I invest two months in the first time orientation program? Because I remember what it was like to step into the conference hotel. To have spent hours traveling from my home to a destination that held so many of my dreams. To know that even as an extrovert, I was scared and out of my comfort zone. I want to remove as many of those concerns and replace them with information, friendships, and the certainty that if God has prepared a way to attend, then He has a plan for your time at ACFW. So come expecting and excited to see what He will do.

One thing I know with certainty. God always shows up and works in amazing ways at ACFW.


Anne Mateer said...

I remember my first time, too. So overwhelming! You do such a great job helping first-timers to navigate the conference and make it a bit less stressful.

Casey said...

It is so sureal to realize I am on the newbie loop and will actually MEET these people in person in just a few months! Wow, blows me away. :)

You are incrediable to take this one too and I think I speak for so many when I say I sooo appreciate it!! :D

Cara Putman said...

Thanks, D'Ann and Casey. I really love helping all the newbies. It's one way I give back to all those who made me feel welcome :-)

kristen said...

And we really appreciate you taking the time to ease our first-time fears, answer our questions, and be a friendly face when, in only 2 months, we'll arrive and get to all the connecting and learning our brains and hearts can hold.
Thanks so much!

Preslaysa said...

This will be my first time at the ACFW conference. I appreciate your willingness to help us first timers get acquainted with the conference.


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