Saturday, October 18, 2014

Faith, Encouragement and Love...Everything a Writer's Conference should be...I found at this years ACFW Conference.

As I was driving to St. Louis, Missouri to attend the American Christian Fiction Writer's Conference thoughts went through my head contemplating how this conference would be different from any other writer's conference I have attended. As we all know, there has been an unrest in this area for quite some time due to rioting in Ferguson, Missouri. Family and friends warned me not to go, the area is to unstable they said, but I was determined to attend the conference I had felt might be the place that my work finds a home.

As you know, I have attended other conferences in my pursuit of a writing career. And I just have to say, all the conferences I have attended have allowed me to meet people I connect with as a writer and just really good people in general. And thanks to our good friends at Facebook and Twitter we have been allowed to stay in touch and support what is happening in each other's writing careers. But, I had not been to a conference where I found such a wide spread willingness of people who were there to love on me and support me as a person, as a writer and as a friend.

I had people sitting with me and praying with me. They prayed that my work would reach the right hands. I had people giving me encouragement when they saw that look on my face, a look of despair, of fear of failure. They just seemed to know. As if God had placed them on my path for that very reason. I had people reach out to me and encourage me to go and meet that agent I needed to speak with. I had people answering my prayers at every turn when I questioned what I was doing there. I had people walk up and tell me exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. I  had people telling me that I was doing the right thing by being here. They came up and told me I  was writing what God told me to write. It was truly amazing.

I also ran into people of the community of St. Louis and through all the unrest and confusion surrounding this community, I found people taking the time to love on me. People of all races and nationalities, in this area, taking the time to say, hello, or open a door for me. It might have been a time of turmoil for the community, but in our small, section of this city we were coming together to show faith, encouragement and love for one another. It was eye opening, and it was inspiring. 

The ACFW put us in touch with agents, publishers and mentors that understood our roads as christian writers. I write to inspire and hopefully help my readers. I do it because I love it, but I also believe there has to be a greater reason. A God reason. The people I met with understood this, which was unlike any other conference I have attended. 

The ACFW also offered classes and continuing educational sessions that were targeted to help us grow as writers in general, from learning the basics to Scrivener to how to get and stay published. Most of the meals were included and they always made a special effort for attendees to get in touch with other writers who write in our genres and  have us get together and share our knowledge.  

There was also the worship time which included phenomenal music that lifted ones desperate soul and took us away from just thinking about ourselves and what we wanted to achieve and made us look at what it was God wanted us to achieve. This time was completely optional and was used as a way to clear our heads before we headed out to face the unknown. 

All in all, I would have to say this was one of the most positive experiences I have ever had at a writer's conference. I am still waiting to hear back from agents and publishers, but I have to say either way it was a very educational and encouraging experience for me as a writer. I  am already looking forward to next years conference.

So until then, keep writing and let me know your views. Why do you write? What is the message you hope to get out there to your reader? Or are you driven by a different set of rules? Let me know. 

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