By Carrie Fancett Pagels
I am continuing my posts aimed at newcomers to ACFW. Several months ago I indicated that new members should get connected in their ACFW Zone. Also, I get asked a lot about how people can get into a local group. I have addressed this further down in the post.
Step One: Go to ACFW and find the page http://www.acfw.com/zones
Click on the link to find the way to contact your zone director. (Editor’s note: access to this page is for ACFW members only. To see local chapter listings, click here.)
• Check to see if there is a local chapter where you live. If no local chapter then contact your Area Coordinator. Email all of the people listed on the ACFW page (your zone director, area coordinator, local chapter president) and let them know you want to connect within your zone.
• There may be a Yahoo group or a Facebook page that you can be added to. If you do not get added to it when you are told there is one – go back and contact people again. Yahoo groups, in particular, are tricky because often the invitations go in your inbox. Zone Directors and Area Coordinators can get around that partially by directly adding new members rather than sending invitations which in most case do go to spam. If there is a FB page, be sure to tell the person who can add you (your ZD or AC) what your profile name is. There could be 100 Mary Chases on there but one Mary Zaphira Chase – so put your correct FB contact on your email when you contact your ZD or AC.
• Not on Facebook yet? Better get on there. And while you are at it, if you are writing looking at future publication, look at Twitter, Pinterest, and some of the other social sites and prayerfully decide what is “right” for you to join.
No local group? What about you? Can you start one?
Several years ago I was contacted by my then-Area Coordinator, Kit Wilkinson, who was trying to set up a local group for us in Hampton Roads, Virginia. She met with a handful of us in the Tidewater Virginia area. Despite my arthritis being out of control, when no one else was willing to chair the group, I agreed. With support from Dina Sleiman, who said she would back me up and help, we had a handful of us who got together and shared and encouraged regularly. Dina is now the Tidewater chairman.
Later I became the Area Coordinator for VA/WVA which put me in a situation of connecting with even more writers. It is a great opportunity to meet others who live within your immediate geographic region. When our Zone Director, Lisa Jordan, stepped down and we had no one willing to take this position, I agreed to give it a try and now I am in touch with writers in many states. Sarah Sawyer came on as our VA/WVA Area Coordinator. It starts with prayer and willingness to do as God asks you to do.
This past year, new-to-Virginia Cynthia Howerter commuted all the way down to Yorktown from Richmond to meet with the Tidewater North group that I hostess with assistance from Janet Grunst. She wanted to connect with other Christian fiction writers so badly that, despite despising driving (even more than I do!) she made a two hour round trip trek every other month. I am pleased to announce that she is now our Richmond Chapter president and is working hard to try to jumpstart that local group.
Want to connect? What are you willing to do to make that happen?
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is MidAtlantic Zone Director, Represented by Joyce Hart, Founder of Colonial American Christian Writers and Administrator of Colonial Quills group blog and Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help.