Today I welcome American Christian Fiction Writers as my guest.
Yes! All of them.
Live from the Conference
From all over the world, many Christian fiction writers drove, flew, or possibly walked to this year's conference held here in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
We have come to sharpen our skills, test our work, network, make new friends, and mentor each other. But the greatest of all, we will worship and pray.
This is my fifth Christian Writers' conference. I've also attended conferences for teachers, caseworkers, and accompanied my husband for his medical conferences. And during the days saturated in specialized topics, I've seen a huge difference between a Christian Writers' conference and others.
First, no one is required to attend. Therefore those who do attend, come because they want to. We receive no brownie points or certification required to get a license. One of many advantages: a writing conference provides a unique opportunity to meet, one-on-one, with an editor and/or agent.
Second, everyone is a mentor. There is no class structure separating the multi -published authors from the non-published writer. A new writer may have a word of encouragement, a seasoned author shares their journey. God equips each person with something to give.
Third, each book stands alone. There is no right of passage and then a golden road. I learned this last year when sitting next to a co-author team. They had over fifty books published. Since they didn’t teach any classes I asked, “Why did you come?” They said, "Because no book is guaranteed to be published. We’ve come to present our new series to editors." I appreciated hearing that. Everyone has to meet the standard for every book.
Fourth, support. Friends and new acquaintances pray and cheer for each other before and during individual appointments with editors and agents, hoping the book is chosen. A published author and friend gave me advice how to polish my proposal, another writer friend, who has a gift in graphic art, helped polish my one sheet (a flyer describing a book). Famous author, Brandilyn Collins sat in an alcove at last years conference and prayed with a crying conferee. Help and support is freely given to all.
Fifth, networking. Before dawn to after midnight, we strengthen new friendships, discuss what we’ve learned, share what we’ve written, our hopes and dreams. Various size groups find places to meet to critique each other’s work. We get pretty giddy after three days with little sleep.
At the ACFW Conference we
Sometimes cry and are discouraged
Sometimes laugh and cheer others
Ever strengthening and sharpening to make our work worthy.
We're sometimes contracted
Ever desiring to prove ourselves
A workman rightly dividing the Word of Truth
Sunday morning we will go our separate ways physically, but our kindred spirits will be linked with those who could not attend to help each other produce quality Christian fiction books.
Whether you're working as a stay at home parent, a CEO, volunteer, or other, you have a gift from God. How can you sharpen your skills?