I did it! A few days ago, I went ahead and registered for the ACFW conference in Indianapolis. And I'm so geeked!
Last year, I attended my very first ACFW conference. Bummer that it had to be in Denver. Yeah, right. The only bummer is that I didn't have a chance to enjoy that beautiful state. But I did have an incredible mountain view from my hotel window.
The only reason I was able to attend last year is because my dad paid for it (love that guy!). And I can honestly say, the conference was one of the best gifts I've ever received. Yes, it was that awesome!
So this year I'm excited because I don't have to fly. Indianapolis is only about 5 hours from me and I'll be driving. Or, I should say, my husband will probably drive me there and pick me up. He has business near the Indiana border anyway, so it works out great. I'm looking forward to some quality car-riding time with him. Plus, I know I'll actually arrive. I'm so bad with directions I once got lost in my own neighborhood.
All I need to do now is find a roommate and I'm all set. Oh - and an outfit for the awards banquet.
Needless to say, I absolutely can't wait until September. Here's what I'm looking forward to:
Tim Downs. Tim is this year's Keynote Speaker. I've never heard him speak and haven't read his books (shhhh...) but I've heard he is a wonderful and entertaining guy.
Excellent teaching. Some of the workshops I signed up for: 12 Crucial Questions to ask about your novel by Gayle Roper. It's not a dirty word - theme by Leanna Ellis and Shelley Shephard Gray. Writing Suspense by Terri Blackstock. The Top 10 Strategies to Becoming a More Productive Writer by Joseph Benz. The Art of Self-Editing by Abingdon Press editor, Barbara Scott. Need I say more?
Pitching. This year will be a little different because I have an agent currently pitching my work to various publishers. But that doesn't mean I sit back and let him do all the work. I am setting an appointment or two with editors I think may be interested in either the manuscript already making the rounds or my new manuscript (which I'm feverishly trying to complete before September). Every contact will help move things along.
Reconnecting with Family. Even though I had never met any of the writers at the conference last year, from the minute I stepped into the hotel lobby, I felt at home. From my roommate Michelle (SO sad she won't be there this year!) to my critique partners (hi Val and Heidi!) to best-selling authors to professional editors, everyone was so amazing. Warning - if you think you'll just be a wallflower, ha! You're guaranteed to get smiled at, talked to, prayed for, and dragged around by the hand. Oh - and also be prepared to get the stuffing squeezed out of you! Lots of hugs to go around!
15 Minutes of Mentorship. Mentorship appointments are new this year. In lieu of an agent or editor appointment, we can choose a mentoring appt. with authors Colleen Coble, Deb Raney, Randy Ingermanson, Jim & Tracie Peterson, Lynette Eason, Lena Nelson Dooley, or Margaret Daley. Since I don't need an agent appointment this year, I'm taking advantage of this excellent addition. Not saying who I chose, but hello. I'd relish 15 minutes with any of these incredible authors to ask questions, get advice, or simply "talk shop."
Spiritual Refreshing. If you think this conference is only about growing in the craft, think again. With a prayer room (and prayer room attendants) available around the clock and praise and worship before every general session, I'm ready for some heart growth! This conference is a wonderful time to reflect and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It's a good time to ask God to "Show me your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths" (Ps 25:4) and to "Direct my steps by Your Word" (Ps 119:136). Yes, God wants us to bask in the teaching so we can learn and grow. But more than anything else, God wants us to come away closer to Him. And the conference coordinators do everything they can to make that happen.
To be treated like a queen. Let's be real. I don't get many opportunities to be treated like royalty. But at last year's ACFW conference, I truly felt like a queen (or at least a princess). With five-course meals fit for the finest, a hotel that looked like a palace, staff that went out of their way to accommodate requests, and an awards banquet that had me in awe, it was nice to be pampered. I so can't wait to experience the royal treatment again this year.
Time away from the family. Sound mean? Maybe. But I truly look forward to some time to focus on my writing without the demands of my children (and they can be demanding!) and distractions of a house that needs cleaning and the phone that keeps ringing. I am confident that a few days away will only help me be an even better wife and mom when I return.
Get all the details on this fabulous writing conference on the ACFW.com
See you in September!