by Pam Meyers
Since ACFW’s first national conference 2002 in Kansas City, MO, I have not missed one conference.
I’ve watched it start out in a Kansas City hotel with 100 attendees (including the presenters) to well over 600 attendees today.
Why do I like the ACFW conference so much? Here are ten reasons-although I could go on longer.
1. The ACFW National Conference is all fiction all the time. Other conferences I’ve attended include non-fiction, article writing, poetry writing, etc. ACFW has dozens of workshops on fiction writing to help all writers, from the multipublished author to the newbie.
2. A wide range of editors and agents attend who are looking for good fiction written from a Christian point of view to publish or represent.
3. Challenging messages from the keynote speaker. In the past we’ve had Liz Curtis Higgs, Michael Hyatt, Debbie Macomber, James Scott Bell. . . just to name a few. This year, Robin Jones Gunn will be at the dais. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say.
4. The top-notch faculty is always very approachable, and conferees are not limited to their official appointments to pitch their ideas. I often see people in conversations in the lobby or perhaps catching a breath of fresh air together outside the hotel. You can also sit with faculty during the scrumptious lunch and dinners we are served.
5. Free night when we have an opportunity to head out with friends to local restaurants for a taste of our host city. The hotel in Indianapolis is located in the heart of the city where numerous restaurants to fit any budget are located. This year, my crit group is planning to hit an Irish pub for some bangers and mash. The last time we were in Indianapolis we tried the shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s. That was a bit pricey, but there are plenty of eateries to fit any budget.
6. I love the way impromptu confabs or brainstorming sessions will sometimes spring up.
7. Seeing old friends and making new ones. Often times, critique groups have formed at conference and life-long friendships have been forged.
8. ACFW’s conferences are housed in five-star hotels at doable room rates. Sometime four or five people have been known to use one room and split the cost. Don’t like a crowd? The block room rate is still reasonable because the price of the room is the same no matter how many use it.
9. Prayer room. The conference always designates a room specifically for prayer. A Bible is there for reading if you don’t bring one of your own. The room is often situated near the appointment area and it is a good place to spend some time before meeting with that editor or agent to pitch your story.
10. Awesome worship. Our worship time, lead by Rachel Hauck, is inspiring and needful. After all, it is God who deserves the glory for all of it. I love seeing writers of all ages singing their hearts out to the Lord and giving Him the glory for what we do.
Are you still on the fence about attending the conference in September? I’ve given you ten reasons why, if at all possible, you should go. If you’re feeling a bit shy about meeting so many new people, Cara Putman will soon be announcing a newbie eloop that will run until conference time. Then once you are there, you will meet with others from the loop before the event opens.
If you are a conference veteran from other writers conferences, you will find ACFW’s conference to be unique and set apart from others in many ways.
Be sure to introduce yourself to me if you come to Indianapolis. I hope to see you there!
Her debut novel Thyme for Love released November 2011, and its sequel Love Will Find a Way released in March 2013. Her historical romance, which is set in her hometown, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, released in April 2013. She has published many magazine articles and is a contributor in a non-fiction compilation book.
You can often find her nosing around Midwestern small towns, looking for story ideas or coordinating the ACFW Genesis writing contest. She leads a woman’s life group in her church and enjoys reading and cooking.