I've attended every conference since the first one DiAnn Mills held in Houston. Very small, but we learned so much. I'm listing the top ten reasons for attending this year if at all possible and then a few memories from each year.
#10 Stay up late talking with your roommate
9 To enjoy the fellowship with fellow writers who really understand.
8 A chance to meet so many new people and make new friends (Volunteer and you'll meet more
7 Have a manuscript critiqued by a well-established writer or editor
6 Late night chats
5 Fantastic workshops
4 To meet with editors and agents
3 Great times of worship and being close to the Lord and listening to His voice
2 To hear the great keynote speaker James Scott Bell
1 To learn more about the craft of writing.
Oh, and did I mention the Chocolate parties? If you're a chocolate lover, keep an eye on the forum for more information.
Kansas City: Karen Kingsbury made me want to write, write, write. She truly inspired me and touched my life when she prayed with me for Robert Mikell and his CF. I met Tamela Hancock Murray and she later became my agent. Met so many wonderful people and almost fell on the floor laughing at Linda Windsor. No wonder her books are so full of humor. Had my first editor appointment with Jim Peterson and almost cratered from nervousness until he put me at ease.
The green sequined dress.
Houston: Having many of the early arrivals at my house for dinner on Wednesday night. Listening to Robin Lee and wanting to be closer to God in my writing. Seeing the friends from the previous year. Patti Hall praying with me. Missing most of the workshops as I tried to make sure everything ran smoothly in each one. The wonderful "competition" between Deb Raney and Brandilyn Collins. Anita Higman's infamous hog calling. My fantastic roommate, DiAnn Mills.
Denver: Francine Rivers. . .oh my. Working in the bookstore for the first time. Having fun with all the old friends and making brand new ones. Getting a critique from Colleen Coble and hanging on her every word. (I'm still working on that ms) Being encouraged by Tracie Peterson.
The fun and games late night chat with Anne Goldsmith. The chocolate party, my first one.
Nashville: Karen Ball and the "it's a castle" expression with the goldfish story. Rooming with Janice and nursing her through her ailing health. Great workshops. The chocolate party. Late night in the bookstore, closing it up and eating pizza at midnight.
Dallas: Driving up with Kathleen, Janice and Linda. Attending my first Barbour Arthurs dinner. Laughing with Liz Curtis Higgs. Having a "ta-da" moment and loving it. The classy awards dinner and hearing names of friends called as winners, especially Marian Merritt and the Genesis Award. Rooming with Janice again.
I attended several years on a scholarship and bless ACFW for offering them. This year I was able to help a friend with her tuition costs and knowing she'll be there is icing on the cake for me.
Some of you won't be able to come because of finances, distance, or other obstacles. Know that we care about you and will pray for you even as you pray for those of us who will be in Dallas.
Can't wait to see you there.