Your Backstage Pass

ACFW Advice, Conference, Friends of ACFW Leave a Comment

by Kim Vandel

There’s a reason I’m a writer. I’m more comfortable with books than with people. Attending the conference in St. Louis last year was a big step outside of my comfort zone, but I knew the benefits would outweigh the bouts of social anxiety. It would be a great opportunity to learn, get connected, and be inspired.

The conference was everything I thought it would be and more. ACFW members are some of the most generous, welcoming people I’ve ever met, and there’s an incredible sense of community at the conference. What I didn’t anticipate was the fun.

Attending the conference is like getting a backstage pass to one of the biggest concerts of the year. You get to hang out with VIPs and see a different side of them. You learn things you might never have learned if you didn’t have behind-the-scenes access. Things like:

• Karen Ball does a great British accent.

• Randy Ingermanson makes a steam punk suit look good.

• Jeff Gerke has seen The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

• It’s possible to ride in the elevator with Rachelle Gardner—alone, just the two of you—and not break into uncontrollable adoration and/or begging.

• Chip MacGregor is man enough to wear a kilt.

• Jill Williamson knows how to use a sword.

• Brandilyn Collins missed her calling as a stand-up comedian.

• Mary DeMuth looks just like her picture.

• Agents and editors need their Starbucks just as badly as you do.

I hope to see you in Dallas, but if you can’t make it to the conference this fall, plan ahead for next year because you don’t want to miss out. Your backstage pass is waiting!

KimVandel was a Young Adult semi-finalist in the 2011 Genesis Contest, and she’s part of the social media team for Northwest Christian Writers Association. You can find her book reviews and more at

Comments 0

  1. Great perspective, Kim. I felt the same way at my first ACFW conference two years ago in Indianapolis. What a great group.
    Looking forward to Dallas in a few weeks for my second conference. Especially with some of my fellow Northwest Christian Writers Association members.
    Had a great epiphany during my first conference after meeting with an editor. Making progress since then:

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