I thought I would just write about my first ACFW National conference experience. I must admit, however, until the last week of registration, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it happen...both in terms of scheduling and funding. The Lord is awesome, and things worked out.
My first day I felt like a fish out of water...but at least I was a fish IN the water and not just flopping around on dry land. I ran into several of the "Indiana gang" at the conference, but not everyone who I have seen at previous Indiana meetings. I hope, for those of you that were not able to make it, that you will be able to attend next year's meeting. IT IS SO WORTH IT!! I met several Indiana writers who were not part of the Indiana chapter yet. I hope you guys (or gals) join us soon (.... you know who you are).
No matter what kind of enthusiasm or energy I walked into that conference with, the final day I walked out, my levels dwarfed those completely. Being around so many "like minded people" felt like I was coming home after a long trip. As a Star Trek fan, I felt like I was at a Trek convention (trust me, that is a positive reference).
I enjoyed being able to network with other writers, listen to and get involved in endless conversations, and in finding other people who played in my genre. I really, REALLY enjoyed James Scott Bell in the Early Bird special (well worth the cost for the insight and wisdom gained).
While expensive, it was well worth the cost to pick up the special offers of a flash drive with past year's recordings and then the cd of last year's recordings. All craftsmen and women know that you must have "the right tools for the right job." I considered these tools the cost of getting better in my writing.
I know this will not be my last conference, and I have already started putting money aside to cover next years event (which sadly will not be in our back yard). I hope to be able to go every year. If nothing else, every other year. I have learned that you must stay connected and plugged in to help yourself and others in the Christian Fiction writing field.
All the different badge labels was a great idea. At a glance, you could easily see what each person was involved with regarding ACFW. Maybe us newbies could get badges with blinker lights on them (grin).
Regarding Genesis. It was very inspirational to see other "new" writers break into the Christian genre and be recognized! Congratulations to you all!
As a writer of speculative Christian fiction, I was amazed how many other name badges had "science fiction," or "fantasy adventure," or just "speculative fiction" written underneath a person's name. That particular genre is growing fast. It's awesome to be among those who are on the ground floor of the popularity of that genre.
Bottom line: the most important concepts I walked away with is that writing always takes hard work, practice, diligence, and a huge amount of prayer.
Well, that's it from me for now. Look for my next posting: "ACFW Conference 2020 : A Speculative Look into the Future" coming in one month. Beyond that, "Why Write Speculative Christian Fiction" in two months.
On a technical note, one of my previous posts referenced Apple Computers. It was so good to see so many writers toting Mac's at the conference.