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Monday, September 24, 2012

Reflections of ACFW conference

The last few days I have been in Dallas at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference. I haven’t attended this or any other big conference in years and wouldn’t have gone this time except for two things: Felt like God said to (which is big), Michael Hyatt was keynote (if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who that is, Google him. You’ll be glad you did).

Here’s the thing, on day one, I felt like a slug. No one knows me anymore.

My pastor gave a quote a few weeks ago talking about church-skippers that went something like: The more you miss, the less you’re missed.

That’s sort of what happened. ACFW grew up without me and I spent the first day catching my breath.

Day two I readjusted and realized that it was nice not to be recognized or to have any responsibility, so I blended into the crowd, attended workshops, visited with hopeful writers, reminding them how much Jesus loves them and how this really isn’t about them, rather it’s about the readers we serve. They want to feel that, but for now, we all know it really is all about us in the beginning—they won’t truly understand until later after they’re published and God teaches them to get over themselves. And God will do that, because of His great love.☺

I reconnected with old friends I haven't seen in a few years.

And I learned the names of all the baristas in the Lobby Starbucks—they are amazing young people on the cusp of life and I told them to go buy Michael Hyatt’s book and be fabulous. ☺ Forgot to tell them Jesus loves them. But that’s the thing about living your Christianity out loud. You don’t have to tell them anything. Just be nice and they’ll know.

I’ve been doing a lot less talking and a lot more listening. My feet are swollen, my body aches, and I’m still not sure why God wanted me to come. I drove down from Missouri with a crazy bunch of new writers in a minivan and I’m really excited to hear all their news on the way home. I know my friend, Carol has received several requests from agents for proposals. My stomach flutters up for her. I remember that feeling.

I also want to say to her, and all hopeful writers: Remember you aren’t writing to be published, but to finish your race, whatever the end looks like for you. God calls us to things with no guarantees of the end results. We’d all like to be NYT bestsellers, but logically, we won’t be. The most we can ask for is to learn what we’re supposed to learn—remember holiness is more important than happiness (not that you can’t have both, but the pursuit of happiness is secondary to going deeper with Jesus).

So the conference is over, tears have been shed, stomach still aches from the gut-splitting laughter, reconnected with good friends. I did have a couple of low moments I’m still trying to figure out—weird moments of miscommunication that I’m not sure I could have made better but wish I could.

All in all, I’m so very grateful to have attended with 700 members of this community of writers and publishers that God allowed me to blend with. They understand pain and process, mountain highs and valley lows, rejection and success.

We are writers.

To entertain, to serve, to share a journey with our readers.

But mostly, we write as worship for an audience of One. I was reminded of that this week.


Carol Moncado said...

I am so very glad you were able to go, my friend. Not just for the [literal] side-splitting laughter on the way home, but because I know there was something for you there - and for you to give others - if no one else than those baristas.

Love you, sweet friend! Next year we will have to laugh our way through Illinois instead of Oklahoma [because what else is there to do as you drive through Illinois?!]!

Tracey Bateman said...

im flying over Illinois next year :)

Tracey Bateman said...

im flying over Illinois next year :)

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great time. Hoping I can attend next year. :)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth Shriver said...

Tracey, it was nice to talk with you at conference. You dazzle me with the number of books you've written. I have some catching up to do!

Beth Shriver

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