July 1, 2009

ACFW Conference - What to Expect

I can hardly believe it's that time of year again--time to be making preparations for the Annual ACFW Conference. I am especially excited this year, as it will be the first time I'll be able to participate in the author book signing. I am also thrilled to be helping a fellow author who is a "newbie" and has never attended a large conference before. Having attended this conference every year but one since 2002, I thought it might be helpful to write a post on what to expect.

* Expect to have the time of your life--meeting other authors just like you, who spend a good portion of their day sitting in front of a computer screen making up stories about fictional people who live in their minds.

* Expect to stand in awe when a "big-time" author greets you with a warm handshake or hug.

* Expect to be tongue-tied when you have your first editor or agent appointment, or find yourself alone with him in the elevator--and all of a sudden, you cannot even remember what your story is about.

*Expect to be served some fantastic meals--some of which are too pretty to eat, but you WILL eat them, and you will enjoy every bite, especially since you didn't have to cook it yourself!!!

*Expect to be spellbound by the great motivational speakers and workshop leaders--this year some of the best writers in CBA, such as Debbie Macomber, Donald Maass, Tracie Peterson, DiAnn Mills, Deborah Raney, Susan May Warren, Colleen Coble, and Randy Ingermanson . . . just to name a few.

*Expect to go without much sleep. There is just too much fun going on for you to sleep. Late Night Chats, getting together with friends or just sitting with other authors and taking it all in. Not to mention that your nerves will be too juiced to allow you to do much more than toss and turn in bed, especially that first night. However, the second or third night is usually better, as you'll be so exhausted you'll probably fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.

*Expect to buy LOTS of books (so bring extra money). This year ACFW is partnering with The Bible Supplies - A Parable Christian Store, so there should be plenty of books to chose from. In the past, I have walked away from the conference with my suitcase loaded with books I've waited all summer to buy and read.

*Expect to learn so much from the workshops that you're either on information overload, or you're unable to resist charging up to your room to write for an hour just to get the scene down that's begging to come out. For those on overload, don't despair, because you can take the workshops home on mp3 disks and listen to the workshops again at your leisure.

*Expect to cry during the worship time. I know I almost always do, filled with such joy and devotion for our Lord, Jesus Christ, and all he has done.

*Expect to find yourself in the prayer room, where you may read from God's Word, pray on your own, or pray with other people.

*Expect to make life-time friends, renew acquaintances and have the time of your life. There is so much more to write--and I'm sure I'll think of something else as soon as I hit the publish button--but rest-assured, your registration money will not be wasted on this conference. As a Christian fiction writer, this conference is one of the best ways to spend your money and your time. You won't regret it!

ACFW Annual Conference
Denver, CO
September 17-20, 2009
Visit ACFW Conference Blog for more tips & suggestions.
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