In mid-September I had the pleasure of attending my first American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference in Indianapolis, USA. I’ve attended a number of Romance Writers of Australia conferences and I made the trek across the big pond back in 2008 for the Romance Writers of America Conference in San Francisco.
This is the first writing conference I’ve attended as a newly contracted published author. I’m in the middle of a six-book contract with Love Inspired Heartsong Presents and, unlike many attendees, I didn’t have a manuscript to pitch. A definite highlight was meeting my editor, Kathy Davis, in person. It was wonderful to finally put a face and voice to the person on the other end of the emails, and to have dinner with Kathy and the Heartsong authors.
Writing conferences provide the opportunity to meet our online writing friends in person. Ironically, I met three Aussies, Dorothy Adamek, Rel Mollet and Megan Sayer, for the first time in Indy. I travelled to Indy from Washington State via Chicago with my US critique partner, Suzie Johnson. Suzie and I had a lot of fun brainstorming new stories during our train trip from Seattle to Chicago. I’ll post more about my USA travel adventures in the coming weeks. It was great to reconnect in Indy with writers I’d met at RWA in San Francisco, including Seekerville ladies Missy Tippens, Debby Giusti and Janet Dean. http://www.seekerville.net/
Dorothy Adamek, Suzie Johnson and me.
Dorothy Adamek, me, Debby Giusti, Missy Tippens, Suzie Johnson, Janet Dean, Mary Connealy.
I enjoyed a lovely dinner on my first night in Indy with the ladies from the Inkwell Inspirations blog. A great way to start the conference and an opportunity to meet my online writing friends. http://www.inkwellinspirations.com/
Back: Jennifer AlLee (photo: Dina Sleiman), Barb Early, Lisa Karon Richardson (photo: Niki Turner), Anita Mae Draper, Gina Welborn, Suzie Johnson (photo: DeAnna Dodson), Front: Susanne Dietze, Debra E Marvin (photo: CJ Chase).
A benefit from attending ACFW conferences is the opportunity to have fifteen minute appointments with editors, agents and mentors. My appointments were a blessing and a valuable part of my conference experience.
Writers who live in my part of the world can feel geographically isolated. The hub of Christian publishing is North America. The internet and social media have provided innovative ways for us to connect with people from all over the world. I belong to a number of writing organisations and group blogs where my participation is primarily online and through email groups.
ACFW Beyond the Borders Zone group were able to meet in person at the Zone breakfast. There were writers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda and Norway at our breakfast tables. It was great to meet my International Christian Fiction Writers (ICFW) blogger friends Lisa Harris, LeAnne Hardy and Kara Isaac for the first time.
Lisa Harris and me.
The quality of teaching at ACFW is excellent and I learned a lot from the workshops I attended. Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck’s Continuing Education session ‘Xtreme! Master Workout for the Middle of Your Book!’ was a definite highlight. I highly recommend those writing Christian fiction invest in their writing career by purchasing the conference recordings. There’s a link on the ACFW website. http://www.acfw.com
Another benefit from attending a Christian writing conference is the worship times that are scheduled into the program. It’s helpful to have time to stop, reflect on why we are at the conference, and focus on how we are writing for God’s glory.
The conference ended with the gala awards dinner. We celebrated with the winners of the Carol Awards and Genesis Contest. A great way to end a brilliant and blessed conference.
My Aussie friend Dorothy Adamek has posted more photos and conference highlights on her blog.