ACFW Conference 2016
A bustling Nashville held the ACFW conference this year. You may have been one of the lucky ones to attend. All attendees were meant to sit in those seats as Divine appointments. Newbies and aficionados who have been coming since inception, rubbed shoulders. You who didn’t get the chance to go, I want to encourage you to plan on next year which will be held in Texas.
Over four hundred, like-minded and slightly ticked in the head men and women, slugged back and forth down halls to meetings and ballrooms. Eyes on phones in hand reading the app to find the next place, deciding if they should boost themselves with a coffee or step into the restroom, trying to be on time, find a good seat, and not get lost.
Most people don’t understand writers who hear voices, configure intricate scenes and engaging dialog, take in everything around them, and file it for a possible future crime or passion. These slightly slouched, mostly bespectacled, and almost always introverted people, came to learn from the best, made appointments, were encouraged, and sometimes become disappointed and even crushed.
They shared a common thread—write the perfect book. The writers spent three days learning together and praying for one another. The power of prayer was felt throughout the two floors of the gathered children of the most high. The sweet Spirit breathed through the rooms and into the lungs and hearts of those willing to receive.
The inspiring words of our esteemed key note speaker, Ted Dekker, brought tears, smiles, laughter, and people to their feet. He encouraged us to work out our love for the Lord and others on paper, to fight through troubles in our soul while struggling to find answers to life’s burdens by interacting with our characters. As our protagonist learns, so might we.
Some storytellers had agent or editor appointments, all nerve racking and often life changing. The lucky ones were asked to send chapters. The editor or agent had a spot or niche that fit what the writer had poured their heart into. Most got sent away to work harder or pitch to another. Those leaving the meetings wore smiles of rejoicing or drawn faces and moist eyes. All were Divine appointments. The Lord doesn’t make mistakes. A “No” is not a sentence of doom, but of learning and redirection.
A few crafters took the challenge of being sharpened by authors who wielded a red pen and bloodied the first chapters of their babies. Brave souls—we slightly crazy writers are—took the risk. Is all this worth the emotional upheaval? Yes. Risk takers are the ones who win in the end and hold their baby wrapped in a hard cover with their name splashed on the front, or downloaded around the world.
The Gala, oh the Gala. Excitement filled the air as over five hundred well dressed men and women, in everything from Sunday best to tuxes and elaborate sparkly gowns, were full of expectations. The food scrumptious in a beautiful presentation and placed on laden tables. The question on everyone's mind--who will win this year’s awards? It thrilled us as we watched the winners cross the stage with gracious beaming smiles and give the glory and praise to their Lord.