The annual American Christian Fiction Writers conference was a month ago and a few others have already posted about their experiences. But two nights ago, at the monthly meeting of the Minnesota chapter of ACFW, a panel of 6 of us shared conference highlights with those who weren’t able to attend this year. So, since it’s top of mind for me again, I thought I would share a few of my highlights here.
One highlight was winning ACFW’s Mentor of the Year award. I knew I had been nominated by someone from my local chapter, but I never expected to win, and hadn’t even thought of what I would say if I had to get up and give a speech. (I don’t remember exactly what I said, but was later complimented because I “kept it short.”)
I initially hesitated to post anything about the award here or on Facebook, because I felt I hadn’t done anything significant enough to deserve it. I am thankful that since that night, my summer intern and several other writers from my local chapter have affirmed the honor. I’ll share just one brief portion of Heather’s well-written nomination letter:
I explained I had started a dozen books in my lifetime, but had never completed any of them. She encouraged me and told me she would be willing to help me along the way…. As I started writing my book, I begged her, “Don’t let me quit.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” she assured. “I won’t.”
She has remained true to this promise.
…Over the last few years, I have hit many pitfalls…. she gave me the space I needed to lick my wounds, but would remind me I couldn’t quit. If I didn’t bounce back fast enough, she would email me persistently until I got back to writing.
So, basically, I was named the Mentor of the Year because I am an award-winning nag. My husband and sons could have told you that years ago. 🙂 Whatever the reason, winning the award was one highlight of the conference.
Other conference highlights included:
- Taking inspiring and helpful classes like: Essence of Story with Christopher Vogler (If you are a writer and have not read his book, The Writer’s Journey, I would highly recommend it. At least visit his web site at thewritersjourney.com). I also found author Kim Vogel Sawyer’s class on Building a Professional Speaking Ministry helpful.
- Spending time with authors I only get to see at conferences, like Sarah Ladd, who also writes Regency-era novels.
- Meeting writers for the first time, like Katherine Reay and many others.
- Spending time in person with fellow writers from our Inspired by Life and Fiction blog.
- Spending time with my agent, Wendy Lawton, and keynote speaker, Lauraine Snelling.
- Seeing some friends from my publisher, Bethany House.
- Dressing up in my Regency-era gown for the “Genre Dinner.”
- But the best part for me? The praise and worship time. There is something special about being in a room with 600 or so writers and publishing professionals all praising our savior, some lifting hands or swaying, some still. A freedom to worship however you are comfortable. A stirring awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit. All led by talented author and singer Rachel Hauck and her praise band. Wonderful.
I don’t know that I will be able to attend again next year, but I will certainly plan to attend another ACFW conference soon. If you’ve attended this or another conference, any highlights you’d like to share?