First of all, I didn't learn, but rather, was REMINDED of what an amazing group of people make up the ACFW. Words can't even express the love I feel for so many of these dear members. I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that the ACFW is one of the best things that has ever happened in my life - a real blessing, not only in regards to my writing, but also emotionally and spiritually. The conference just proved this truth again. God shows up at these conference, you guys!! We're a blessed group, and if you're a fiction writer, we'd love to have you be a part!
Craft-wise, I learned some great points on when/how to incorporate backstory from Deb Raney's continuing education class. It was a fantastic session and the hands-on projects and "quizzes" were such a blast. Deb seriously rocks! She's a sweet woman with a heart of gold and a passion for writing and sharing God's truths, all rolled up into a pretty smile and a warm hug! I learned so much and better yet, had fun doing it! All of the workshops were informative and beneficial, and I wish I could have attended multiple classes at once. I need a clone! I guess the conference MP3s are the next best thing! I can't wait to hear the courses on my computer and learn even more. =)
Perhaps one of the most beneficial things for me this weekend was hearing Robin Jones Gunn teach on how to write passion. Her words sparked something in my heart that I believe was a "divine appointment" from God. Robin's course on Young Adult writing was actually incredibly beneficial to any writer of any genre, because Robin's beautiful heart flowed through her words and dripped blessings over each person there. I don't believe there was a dry eye after her testimony stories! Unbelievable...
Spiritually speaking, I don't even know how to tell you what the conference did to my heart! I'm a writer, so maybe I SHOULD be able to express my heart in this matter, but who can explain God and His ways?? Not me! =) I can say that I was refreshed and renewed beyond belief, and my faith took a quiet, firm step forward. I always anticipate the ACFW conference not just for the invaluable wealth of info for my writing, but for the fellowship with other Christians and the inspiring worship times. God showed up, big time. I hope you all met Him there this year as I did.
Some fun memories that will stick with me forever:
French fries and diet coke with Lori at the hotel bar at midnight!
Brainstorming with Susan May Warren and hanging out til after midnight chatting about our new stories. Meeting "Rafe" - check out Susan's new book, coming out in January 2008 at her website! http://www.susanmaywarren.com/
Lunch Thursday with Robin Jones Gunn and her amazing analogy on how our books and the stories of our hearts are pleasing offerings to God.
Robin Gunn, Tricia Goyer, and Sarah Sumpolec dancing around a hotel room during the infamous "Chocolate Party" with red wax lips.
The joy that filled my spirit during the worship times, when I would take a moment to look around and realize that here we were, worshipping and praising God - editors, writer, agents, famous authors, newbies, and faculty alike. We are ONE in the body of Christ!
Chip MacGregor's kilt at the awards banquet - need I say more?
Seeing my crit parter, roommate, and dear friend Georgiana Daniels win Second Place in the Genesis contest for the LIT category. "Woooooohooooo!!!!!!"
Watching James Scott Bell, famous author and screenwriter, strum a guitar and sing ""My brother Esau is a hairy man but I am a smooth man" complete with hand motions.
The amazing hotel beds - everything was down! Down pillows, comforters, mattresses, etc.
Meeting so many dear online friends face to face for the first time!! (Hi Georgiania! Hey Erica! )