Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Conference Season Begins


I'm flying across country tomorrow to attend the Christian Writers Guild conference in Colorado Springs. This seems to be the first of the annual conferences to hit in the new calendar. This year it is the only writers conference, besides ACFW, that I plan to attend. I went to CWG a couple years ago and found the atmosphere very different from ACFW.

For me ACFW is like a family reunion. Around every corner I can meet up with a friend I've made while being in CBA fiction publishing for the last 15 years. Many of the published authors attend. And, as it usually is where a lot of friends gather, there is a lot of laughter and fellowship. You may even get drawn into a pajama party where the chocolate flows endlessly.

I found CWG to be a more subdued environment. There isn't the long history of connections that the fiction writers seem to have to celebrate. The majority of these authors are not yet published. Most have spent the past year in online classes, and this conference is a culmination of all they have learned. Now they are ready to start talking to publishers about their book ideas.

Last time I was there, these CWG authors really showed that they knew how to pitch an idea. They were very professional. I made a couple contacts that turned into writers we could call on for devotions and other material. So, I look forward to the conference and to enjoying the luxury accommodations at the Broadmoor. Robin Jones Gunn is the fiction keynote speaker, which should be very enjoyable.

But getting ready for a trip is always a pain. There is so many little things to prepare.

Last night I stood over my suitcase without a clue as to what I wanted to pack and what I might need. Then I learned my mother would be hosting family guests while I'm gone, using my bedroom. That meant I needed to clean some things up that have been neglected during the holiday rush with only about 4 hours to do it all with my back already aching. Talk about stress. And my puppy could feel it. He followed me around, taking socks out of my suitcase, moving laundry that needed folding, ripping up tissues, and more.

I'm always up for a trip--especially when I get to see mountains--but it is always hard to get ready to go and not worry about things at home while I'm gone.

So, what writers conference(s) will you attend this year? How do you decide if a conference is worth the investment to your writing?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky,
I went to CWG last year and although I enjoyed it, it was different than an ACFW conference. Because the online courses are one-on-one, I thought I wouldn't know anyone when I got there--until I saw DiAnn Mill's bright smile shining across the dining room. She was fantastic, giving me tips, introducing me to editors and encouraging me after Jerry Jenkins critiqued my wip in his thick-skinned writers class.

But while the conference was great(and the Broadmoor was the fanciest place I've ever stayed in,) I don't miss the idea of not being there like I do every September when the ACFW conference rolls around. There's just something about the ACFW conference that feels so homey--it's like a little piece of Heaven. That's why I'm going to ACFW this year.

Have a great time,
Patty Smith Hall

Mary Connealy said...

You mean they're not all like the ACFW conference? That's the only one I've ever been to. Right now, I'm planning on only going to that one again. A Jet Setter I am NOT.

Does anyone have suggestions? I've heard of others, Mt. Herman, Glorieta....

Rhonda said...

Hi Becky,
This year I am attending the TRFW conferece (local writers group) it is small but we have two editors coming in, one from Wild Rose Press and one from Avalon. I "might" be attending the ACFW conference, it will depend on my job. ACFW has really grown. I remember the first two years, it was small and fun. Now I sometimes get a little claustrophobic... weird coming from me I know.

Lynette Sowell said...

Besides the ACFW conference, I'm planning to go to the Glen Eyrie Christian Writers Workshop (also in Colorado Springs) at the end of April. Authors Angela Hunt, Alton Gansky, Kathy Mackel, and one more will be doing workshops. This isn't a conference, but it's more about learning in small groups, having time to write while there, and then getting immediate feedback. I'm looking forward to some indepth work on story-building, because I'd like to work on bigger books (insert grin).

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

If things work out, I hope to attend the Blue Ridge Writers Conference as well as ACFW. I used to go to RWA conferences. If I can only afford one, it will be ACFW.

Karen said...

Safe travels, Becky. Last year was my first ACFW. I knew no one but felt like I knew everyone. It is an amazing conference with the friendliest people I have ever met. Well worth the pennies you have to save. Unfortunately I won't be able to go this year but I'm going to the Erma Bombeck Humor Workshop in April and possibly a more local conference put on by a writers group in Columbus, OH. I always try to make it to Write to Publish.

Kaye Dacus said...

Safe journey!

I'll be attending ACFW this year as well as the Alumni-Weekend at my graduate school, Seton Hill. The weekend retreat at SHU is really focused on the nuts-and-bolts of the publishing industry, and I'm really looking forward to the sessions on marketing and publicity. It's different from ACFW in that it's a very secular environment, but the supportiveness amongst the attendees is the same that I get at ACFW.

For me, because I have been through a graduate-level writing program, choosing which conference to go to is less about what's being taught and who the keynote speaker is and more about who's going to be in attendance. Though vastly different, the two groups of writers I'm involved in---my school group and ACFW---both feel like family to me. It's more about being with writing friends, people who understand the unique lifestyle of being a writer, and about receiving encouragement than it is about attending seminars or workshops---that's just an added bonus!

Myra Johnson said...

Becky, I hope you have a wonderful time at the conference. This year, for the first time since 2001, I'm headed back to Mount Hermon, and I see several ACFW members are also planning to be there, which will make it even more fun. Mount Hermon was when I first learned what "pitching" meant, but it took me a couple of ACFW conferences to finally be brave enough to try. I've been to RWA twice, and while the instruction is superb, nothing beats the mutual support and caring that sets Christian conferences apart.

Pam Hillman said...

ACFW is and has been my top pick since its inception. But if I had plenty of money and time, I'd take in Mt. Hermon, Glorieta, Blue Ridge and RWA, to name a few. I've been to RWA twice (as a GH finalist both times), and I drool over the Mt. Hermon brochure every year.

I love the atmosphere of the hotel, the food, seeing old friends, meeting new. I enjoy the workshops and the keynote speakers and staying up late with friends.

I wonder if attending 6 or 8 writing conferences a year gets old after awhile? I'd sure like to try it for a spell! lol

Cara Putman said...

I'll be at ACFW. That's the only conference I've been able to attend so far and that won't change this year. Someday I would like to get to another, but as a fiction writer ACFW has been wonderful for me!

Erica Vetsch said...

I hope your trip is postive and profitable, Becky. I'll be at the ACFW conference this year, Lord willing. (Yay, it's in my neck of the woods this year.) I hope to see you there.

Janet Spaeth said...

Two conferences for me: RWA and ACFW. I love going to them and seeing old friends. Er, not that my friends are OLD! *G*

I'm so glad that ACFW is in Minneapolis. The Twin Cities are my second home so I'm always glad to go there. And, of course it helps that the Mall of America is there!!!

Both conferences energize me and help me focus on the work--and the joy!--of writing.