By Martha Rogers
I have just returned from my 15th ACFW conference. It was one of the best I’ve attended. The best thing was seeing friends only known through the loop or Facebook or Twitter, but feeling like I’d known them forever. I offer my congratulations to all the Genesis and Carol Award winners. Keep turning out those great books.
The classes I attended were excellent presentations of the material. No matter how old I get or how long I write, there is always something new to learn. As a writer, I cannot sit back on my laurels and think I have it made. If I reach the point where I think I can’t learn anything else because I know how to write and have sold books and made money, it will be time for me to stop and do something else.
One thing I truly love about ACFW is how we embrace, encourage, support, and push each other to be the very best we can be at our craft. Whether we are multi-published, just beginning, working on our first contract, or going the indie route, we must always strive for excellence. Our readers expect a good book for their money, and it’s up to us to give it to them.
We must continue to grow in our craft and never think we know it all. We are never too old in life to learn new ideas, techniques, and methods. I love having editors go over my writing because if we work together, we can make the book stronger and better. Of course I don’t take every suggestion, but most of the time, their ideas are better, and I learn from them.
So many resources are now available to us as writers. Those weren’t around back in the 1950’s when I wrote my first novel and had no clue about POV, showing not telling, and plot structure. I just wrote whatever came into my head as the story unfolded. I read books by Grace Livingston Hill, Janet Lambert, and books like Caddie Woodlawn and knew I wanted to be a writer.
James Scott Bell, Randy Ingermanson, Brandilyn Collins, DiAnn Mills, Kathy Ide, Donald Maas, and Angela Hunt and Jill Nelson are a few of our number who have written books that have been a tremendous help to me.
We also have writing conferences and workshops all over the country, and a serious writer will make good use of his or her time by attending those. Some are expensive and others more budget minded, but it is money and time well spent in learning from those with the experience.
One thing it behooves us to remember is that no matter how hard we try or how good our books are, we will always have one or two who don’t like what we write and complain about books even when they get them for free. We can let them get us down or have a positive attitude ourselves and go on with our writing.
Martha Rogers is a retired English teacher and professor living in Houston with her retired husband. They are active at First Baptist Church where Martha sings in the choir and teaches a ladies Bible class on Sundays. She writes historical fiction set in the second half of the nineteenth century.