Wondering exactly what happens at writing conferences? Today’s the day for me to highlight the 2008 ACFW Conference. To read a minute-by-minute report about last year’s conference–practically in real time–click on the following links. They’re very detailed and packed with pictures of me stalking famous people and people who will be famous soon.
Of course, if I were an unnamed female judge on American Idol, perhaps I’m already posting about what will happen this year.
The best advice I have for those considering attending ACFW is this:
Prepare to be humbled.
And it will happen in so many different ways.
I write with my mother, Sherrie Ashcraft, as well as on my own. Last year, we’d just come from a hugely successful conference where every single editor we met with complimented our clean writing and asked for at least a proposal, if not a full manuscript. Maybe, if I were to look somewhere deep inside, I’d have to admit that I wanted ACFW to continue to pile on the praise. When one of the first events, our joint paid critique, did not follow this pattern … eek! In other words, we were humbled just when we needed to be.
If you think you’re a brilliant writer, you’ll find out you’re not.
If you’ve began to fear your writing is just a jumble of words that sound flat, someone will praise the life in a well-crafted sentence.
If you think you’ve been writing FOREVER with no contract in sight, you might bump your moping self into Jill Eileen Smith and realize that nine years really isn’t that long compared to twenty.
If you’ve lost hope, God will fan the dying embers of your dream into a flickering light just bright enough to see the next step.
If you need healing, the prayer room will beckon.
If you think the prayer room is the only place where people care for you, you’ll find yourself mistaken.
If you’re awed by true celebrity, you’ll find yourself speechless, standing amidst your favorite authors who’ve written books the Lord has used to touch your heart.
If you’re hungry to learn, your head will be close to exploding by the conclusion of conference.
If you’re scared to meet with editors, you’ll find many kindred spirits. (Some editors are even afraid to be alone with themselves!)
If you begin to think you might have a chance of making it, you’ll be disconcerted by the quality and quantity of fellow attenders.
And just when you doubt your calling, the Lord will confirm it.
If you are prepared to humble yourself, then the Lord can exalt you! (Luke 14:11)
Though I haven’t experienced all of the above, I’ve heard of each happening at the ACFW conference. It’s an intense experience you don’t want to miss. This year, as a Genesis finalist, I know I’ll be humbled, win or lose. And I’ll be thankful either way.