6 Reasons to Love the ACFW Conference

Having arrived home a few days ago from an action- and information-packed American Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference in St. Louis, I’m still sorting through my myriad impressions.  Here’s a brief list of take-aways for me, as a fledging writer:

1) PEOPLE! On the macro level. . .

So many wonderful Christians who are there to teach, to learn.  There’s something wonderful about the body of Christ gathering in one spot together. . including the sheep who might be a little different from us.  . .  Yet the mass effect of Holy-Spirit cancels out differences and gels us together like nothing else can.

2) PEOPLE! On the micro level. . .

The delightful, lovely folks I bumped into all day long, wherever I went. . .God put each of them in my path for reasons only He knows, but we are “knit together in Him” (Colossians 2:2) like I’ve known them forever. . .I will continue to bounce ideas off of them in the future. . .and get their advice.

I don’t have a picture of one sweet friend, Julie, who prayed for me right before my editor appointments. But two other of my newest friends, Connie (in pink) and Elizabeth (pictured with me) are below:

3) Favorite authors I’ve read. . .

Going to the bookstore and actually seeing Terri Blackstock signing her books. .  Picking up a Karen Kingsbury novel off the table and finding it already signed. . .seeing and hearing Colleen Coble introduce a speaker at our general assembly. . . listening to Brandilyn Collins wonderfully emcee all conference long. . .

No, there are no pics of them; I didn’t stalk the more famous among us. I figured they just wanted to attend the conference like normal folks. (Although, I did manage a picture of Brandilyn from a distance, up above.)

4) Exciting new authors. . .

Attending an Erin Healy workshop on “Breaking the Rules in Christian Fiction”. . .taking notes on Jenny B. Jones’ “Dialogue Do’s and Don’ts”. .  . being steered to a new women’s fiction author, Gina Holmes, whom I now have downloaded on my Kindle, ready to read (thanks, Sabrina!). . .

5) New trends in writing. . .

How Young Adult fiction is picking up steam, targeting the vast market of young folks who gobble up anything supernatural/vampire/werewolf, etc, but presenting it with a Christian worldview. . . . and similarly the area of what’s called “speculative fic”, written for fantasy-seekers. . .I can’t write it, but I certainly appreciate the effort that goes into creating these genres. And don’t even get started on a topic foremost in a lot of  minds–that of e-pubbing–

5) Editors and Agents. . .

Getting to pitch my book baby to lots of different people in the industry of Christian publishing. . . treasuring their helpful and affirming feedback. . .where eating and sitting next to these movers and shakers helps me realize that yes, they are human, and as a new writer friend told me, “Realize these people wear underwear just like you and me!”. . .

6) Encouragement, hands down. . .

Writing is a lonely activity, yet ACFW was one big opportunity for me to mix it up with others who create books. I have come away with lots of craft instruction on HOW to write, sure, but the most valuable are the contacts He’s given me that I pray He will use to His glory.

If writing in God’s Name for the sake of God’s Kingdom doesn’t result in glorifying the Lord Jesus, then we should all hang up our pens/computers right now and find something else to do.

Yet we do.  Our hope, our mission, is that with stories we will continue to touch those readers who DO know Him. . .and reach those who don’t YET.

May Jesus be praised!

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

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Comments

  1. Amen to all you said. And meeting you was at the top of my “things I loved about the conference” list. God Bless!

  2. Connie, if you go next year, I’m game. I’ll room with you. . .Thanks for reading!

  3. Thanks for the mention! You were SO wonderful to pray for me while I was in with the editor. It’s so great to know someone is out there praying on my behalf! It is so amazing to be able to go to the conference and worship the Lord. I am sure there were so many different denominations and we all meshed together perfectly!

    • Julie, you are truly one of the best things that happened, too. It was a God moment, for sure, when we stopped to pray for each other’s editorial appointments. I am excited to see what God is going to accomplish through your writing in the future–!

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