ACFW Conference Memories

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ACFW Conference 2007 – Ronie, Dineen Miller, Camy Tang!

Writers Share Their Fondest Memories

I am a professed lover of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and I try to help out wherever and whenever I can. With all my heart, I believe that without ACFW, I would not be published or where I am today.
So, it’s a delight today to feature ACFW CONFERENCE MEMORIES from friends and fellow ACFW Members. If you aren’t sure you’re going to attend the conference this year in St. Louis, take a moment to find out what attending has meant to other members and beautiful moments that came out their sacrifice of time and money to attend.

Here is a special memory from the amazing Martha Rogers:

One very special memory I have is when Debbie Macomber mentioned me in her last keynote address. Her topic centered around persevering and not using the excuses of time or age as reasons for not pursuing publishing. She used me as an example of not giving up or using my age as an excuse not to write. She told them how I signed my first contract shortly after my 73rd birthday. She had me stand while she told them. I almost cried because it touched me so that she found that out and then used it in her closing address. It sure spurred me on to do more.

And then, here is a funny memory from Kim Vogel Sawyer:

Funny memory… My first conference, for whatever reason (probably standing in the right place at the right time), I was invited to meet in Karen Kingsbury’s room around 10 PM to watched a movie. Nervous beyond nervous but also excited, I headed down the hallway. I met up with Jill Eileen Smith and Carolyn Scheides, who were also going to the get-together, and we advanced as a trio. We knocked at a suite door, but no one answered. So we knocked again. Someone inside hollered, “Go away!” Startled, we whispered amongst ourselves. Deciding the yell certainly couldn’t have been intended for us, we knocked again–more insistently. Moments later, a hotel employee approached and asked what we were doing. We explained our purpose. Then SHE explained we were banging on the door of a pilot who’d just come in from a lengthy flight and wanted to sleep. We were at the wrong door!!! We did find the right suite, and later we even found the ability to giggle about our gaffe. Hopefully, the pilot has forgiven us…

A spiritually inspiring one from Roxanne Rustand:

After attending a dozen RWA fast-paced conferences, I had thought my first ACFW conference might be rather like a small regional affair, but was I ever wrong! It offered excellent workshop tracks, was every bit as well run as any RWA conference, but had a far greater sense of camaraderie and fellowship. The spiritual element was especially wonderful–and I now look forward to this conference each year. Anyone who wants to write for the CBA market should attend if at all possible–it’s worth every penny!

Former ACFW President and choir director Cynthia Ruchti remembers:

The conference choir is always a highlight for me, whether directed by someone else or in those years when I was privileged to serve as the volunteer director. Watching the Lord bring voices together from all across the country and beyond, with so little face-to-face practice, to make music that glorifies the Lord and expresses the heart of all the attendees…priceless! The Lord has often spoken to me on a deep level through both the worship at the conferences and through the choir. So many writers surrendering their words and their praise to the only One who is worthy!

A fond time for Lena Nelson Dooley regarding her win as Mentor of the Year:

In 2006, I had to go to the bathroom after we finished eating the banquet, and there was a long line. It took me so long to get through the line, I missed the first part of the announcement about Mentor of the Year nominees, so I didn’t even know I had been nominated. I got to my chair and dug in my purse looking for my lipstick while she read comments people made about the nominee who won. When she read some phrases that I often use with my critique group, I thought, isn’t that just like God? He tells the same thing to many people at the same time. (actually my critique group thought I would recognize that it was me from those phrases) I finally found both my lipstick and my mirror. I started putting my lipstick on when she called my name. It took a few seconds to sink in. I glanced up at the screen across the room, and a photo of me smiled back. I dropped everything on the table and stood. About halfway to the stage, I wondered if I had finished putting on the lipstick, or would I look strange up there? (Thank goodness, I had finished.) My critique group were all snapping pictures, so I have a second by second documentation of all this.

A poignant memory from Judy Christie how nervousness formed a bond and a strong friendship:

Four years ago, I took a stab at writing my first novel and timidly signed up to attend one day of the ACFW annual conference. When I went into breakfast, I was so nervous. I didn’t know any of those people, nor did I know what I was doing! I plopped down at the closest empty spot. Romance writer Lenora Worth sat down at the same table.
Lenora and I looked at each other with that weird combination of recognition and confusion you get when you run into someone out of context. Our paths had actually crossed years before when she was a community columnist at a newspaper I edited. We live only a few miles apart in North Louisiana.
As we visited, I realized that Lenora was not only a writer–she was a multi-multi-multi-published writer. (Her 45th novel came out this year, and she made the NYT bestseller list!) I asked her so many questions over breakfast that it’s a miracle she didn’t run to another table. Instead, she graciously offered to visit with me about writing when we returned home. I took copious notes that day and referred to her advice often as my first novel was published.
Since then, we’ve become friends. Beyond being a fantastic teacher, Lenora is an incredible encourager. She and her husband even show up for each of my book releases. She has made a tremendous difference on my writing journey.
I regularly encourage writers to attend an ACFW conference and to fear not! God goes before us, and we don’t know who we might sit next to at breakfast.

The 2011 ACFW Conference is September 22-25 in St. Louis!

I hope to see you there!!

Learn more about Ronie Kendig and her books at her website.

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