Friday, September 09, 2016

Writing: Conferences

I've recently attended the 2016 conference of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and thought maybe I should add my thoughts to the others that have been written about it (and conferences in general). The photo montage at the left is from my friend and colleague, Beth Vogt Don't look for me in the photos posted about the conference. I think I was included in one. I didn't take any myself. But I was there. Really.

First of all, just as in years past, there were lots of excellent courses--opportunities to hear people who have "made it" as authors, sharing trade secrets on how to improve your writing, publish your work, etc. Imagine all that talent gathered together in one place. It's amazing.

The keynote speakers are always good, and this year was no exception. The attendees were challenged by Ted Dekker, who shared one secret I especially remember: he wasn't writing for readers, he was writing for himself, sharing his own journey. That takes some getting used to.

I didn't stay for the Gala, even though my novel, Miracle Drug, was a finalist in its category for the Carol Award. Congratulations to colleagues Lynnette Eason, Beth Vogt, and all the other winners. As it always has been, the Gala was not only an occasion to recognize winners in the Carol and Genesis contests, but for dressing up and seeing friends--which brings me to what I think is the most important part (to me, at least) of attending a conference.

Networking. Starting with my very first conference, I made friends with colleagues at all levels. I even became acquainted with agents and editors (although I treated them with a mixture of fear and respect). As the years went by, it has been amazing to watch the progress of fellow authors, and to work with many of the publishing people I've met along the way.

So, the conference is over. Some people who attend these have problems coming "down from the mountain." Some wish they could have gone, and vow to make it happen in the future. What about you? How do you feel about conferences? I'd love to hear.

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Carol Garvin said...

I've never attended the ACFW conference, but am a regular at the Surrey International Writers' Conference held in a suburb of Vancouver, BC. The networking is invaluable, yes, but to me the most important aspect is the renewal of my enthusiasm and creativity...the boost of inspiration I get from being immersed in a huge community of writing professionals all weekend. There's nothing like the high it provides!

I'm a loner when it comes to my writing. I work best in quiet solitude. But spending one weekend of the year at my conference is extremely productive. :)

Richard Mabry said...

Carol, I appreciate the comment. You reflect the attitude of many attendees at the ACFW conference. I think we can both agree that there's something for everyone and many reasons for attending a writers' conference. Thanks for stopping by.