The swell of six hundred voices singing with passion gives me goosebumps. I look around the room and see arms held high, eyes closed, and the occasional tear trailing down someone’s cheek.
There is almost nothing like the joy of worshipping God, surrounded by hundreds of peace-filled, encouraging people who call you friend.
Each morning of the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference (ACFW) kicks off with breakfast and coffee (aka writer fuel) and a thirty-minute worship session. The conference hostess prays over us, and we depart to attend writing and publishing workshops or appointments with agents or editors.
Although this is my first writing conference, I already know this one is strikingly different than others. Having a prayer room is one, which is a room dedicated to quiet prayer and reflection. You can go freak out over an upcoming appointment or give thanks and praise that something went well.
Another noticeable difference is the attitude of writers towards each other. My experience with other writers – and I’m guilty too – is that we’re usually quite jealous of each other’s success. It’s almost unbearable to hear about another writer who writes more quickly than you do, or who achieves wild success with their first book publication. Hey, I’m not proud of that attitude, but sometimes it’s a knee jerk reaction that I and other writers feel. It’s probably borne of our innate drive for success and insecurity that we aren’t far enough along or constantly behind rather than actual envy. But at this conference, the writers are THRILLED for each other! There’s room in the market for all of you! May God be praised and honored by your book being written well and reaching as many readers as possible! What a soul-refreshing attitude.
I’ll recount my experiences from this workshop – the appointment meetings, meeting acclaimed authors (the notable Frank Peretti was present!!), reviews of the giant 40+ books I’m toting back, nerding out with like-minded writers who enjoy crazy fiction and struggle with dialogue and know what a Bildungsroman is – in later blog posts. Got to spread out the pearls of wisdom I’ve collected to share with you!
We’re off to the final event – the glamorous awards gala. Readers, à bientôt!