Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chapter Meeting - A Snack Between Banquets

Last Saturday I had the privilege of traveling with Ann Shrock, (author of Crossroads in The Quakers of New Garden collection) to gather with other writers, some familiar, some new to hear multi-published Travis Thrasher speak. (If you weren't there, I'm sorry.) Afterward, Ann and I spent another hour and a half discussing what we heard, how writing impacts our lives, and encouraging one another as we returned home. That is a superior and affordable way to spend a Saturday. The kind of day you sit back and say, "Now that was delicious."

There is nothing quite like interaction with others who actually "get" you and who struggle with the same challenges you do. ACFW offers wonderful online help that makes it possible to become a good writer from home. However, I would encourage you to participate in your chapter or regional ACFW group.Our Indiana ACFW president, Rick Barry, and his board work hard to move the meeting site around the state so authors can conveniently attend at least once in a year. I'm sure other officers do the same. This is a gift.

Have you ever visited a team blog such as Girls Write Out? Such sites are fun, supportive, and share the burden of blogging while drawing in others to participate. If you ask such group bloggers, they often say they attended a meeting where the love of writing and a common desire to improve was the fire that forged their friendships.With shorter agendas and less pressure, local meetings present a place to build writing relationships.

It takes effort, but in blogs, interviews, and conversations with writers one theme that has stood out to me repeatedly in the past eight months is that the road to publication involves sacrifice. It's a sacrifice of time, money, family, or leisure to attend a small writers meeting, but there are rewards, too. A local or regional  may not be the big enchilada of meetings, but it is a sustaining and satisfying meal. Think about it.

Have you attended a chapter or regional ACFW meeting in the last year? What was the take-away value?

Mary Allen lives in the Midwest with her husband and a German Short Hair Pointer. She loves God's Word which never changes and also enjoys playing with words which can be endlessly changed. She writes about God's Truth, Women's Fiction and was the La Porte County Poet Laureate from 2010-2011.



  1. Mary, so glad you got to attend, and even more glad that your commute with Ann let you two discuss writing to and from the event. Jay Faubion and I did the same!

    I agree that a shorter event such as this one doesn't compare with the huge smorgasbord at an annual conference. But, as you said, there are still benefits as we consider more deeply the lessons gleaned from an author who is making a living at his writing and can share lessons he has learned. Always fun to hobnob with other writers of all levels of experience!

    For anyone who wonders when our next event in Indiana will be, here's the link with that information:

  2. So true and thanks for giving us the link.

  3. I didn't get to go :( so this report was really nice. We have some really good chapter meetings and over the years we've connected with members, and it's wonderful to meet new people in writing, too.

    Great report! Thanks!

  4. The Oklahoma City chapter of ACFW (OCFFW) met two weeks ago and a very odd thing happened. After the meeting, instead of everyone hurrying off to the next errand, People just sat around and talked. The loop lit up that evening with comments and one of the things that was said was how nice it was to spend a couple of hours with someone who "gets" us.

  5. Sharon, sounds like we should try to include more conversation time into our meetings. The place where they're held might limit the amount of time available, but I like the idea of more "together time" after the main speakers.

  6. Crystal, I missed seeing you there. You're always brighten the agenda with your points of view.

    Sharon, it sounds as if your OCFFW meeting was a winner. That's exactly what I'm talking about. It strengthens us in so many ways to be around other writers. Where was your meeting held?