What an amazing week! I don’t know where to begin–except with my favorite part. The people.
Conference time provides a wonderful opportunity to meet in person people who you see only in social media pics. They’re taller, shorter, bigger, smaller, more or less beautiful than their online images, but you recognize them. You know them by their smiles and sparkling eyes, and even if you have to spend time reminding each other who you are, the hugs are immediate and special.
Add to that lessons presented by some of the best names in the business. For instance, Donald Maass, the fuzzy figure on the right. Author of some of the best writing books out there and one of the most pursued agents in the business, Mr. Maass spent several hours with us in the Early Bird session guiding us through writing techniques intended to bring us deeper into characterization and plot. I’ll write more about our session as time goes on, but let me tell you–by the time the course was over, I had a clear idea of how to finish my current novella WIP, Kayla’s Challenge, how to amp up Skydiving to Love, and how to add depth to the novels I’m currently sketching out.
This year, we also had the opportunity to participate in the new ACFW Marketplace. This is where my sweet Billy really had a chance to shine. We bought a quarter of a table–sharing it with three other friends/authors. MSB babysat the entire table for us when we were gone to the different classes and functions associated with the conference. In fact, he joined me in volunteering to help get things ready before the conference began. There are a number of husband-wife teams that attend and work the conference, and I’m happy that we were among them this year.
Being with a group of people—numbering around 600 this year—who are passionate about the same things you are is one of the most wonderful experiences around. Talking about plots, characters, publishing, editing, marketing—everything pertaining to the business with people who understand where you’re coming from is fantastic, but even more awesome is knowing that we also have in common our faith in an amazing God. Whatever denomination we belong to, once we’re there, we’re all simply His children–not Baptist or Methodist or whatever, but simply children of a loving King. We support and love each other, root for each other, help each other. One big ol’ mass of God-loving writers. Brings tears to my eyes even now.
I’ll provide more info in my newsletter from the personal side of the conference, and here and on AuthorCulture (starting Wednesday) of what I learned during the conference. My brain needs time to review and process everything. There is so much! I didn’t sleep worth a flip while I was there. Did my best to keep the evening hours of a conference full of friends, but I still woke up during my regular hours between four and five–and worse, between one and three! So everything I learned is all helter-skelter in my tired brain. (Though when we got home, I went to bed around three p.m. and slept for twelve straight hours. That helps.)
PB the cat is happy we’re home. I have a mound of laundry and paperwork and an astounding list of writing and business related to-dos to get to, not to mention simply stepping back into my normal life. After a fairy-tale week, it’s going to be difficult to return to my rut, but at least in my rut I can get things done.
More later, kids.