My beloved ACFW conference is right around the corner. You might be planning to attend or you may be gearing up for another kind of conference this fall so I thought I’d give you a few tips about writers conferences.
1. The main benefit of a writers conference is not necessarily learning more about writing, although that’s VERY important. But the main thing you will come away with is a sense of community. I remember when I was writing my first book. I didn’t even know another writer, and I felt odd, weird, out of step with other people in some strange, crooked way. No one else I knew had characters speaking in their head. No one else I knew heard read a newspaper article and immediately thought, “what if.” My first Christian writers conference was Glorietta in New Mexico. It was there I met (and roomed) with my friends Kristin Billerbeck and Carol Cox. Of course my parents thought I was crazy to be rooming with two women I’d never met. I mean, what if they were axe murderers or something? :) But I realized I’d come home really. I was with my people. They all had characters in their heads too. They cared about things like point of view and dialogue. All the things I was fascinated with. I left that conference knowing I wasn’t alone anymore. I had peeps.
So when you go to a conference the main thing you should be looking for is people you connect with. A critique partner, an encourager, someone who understands. Be on the lookout! Don’t hide in your room even if you’re an introvert. Hang out in the lobby and the coffee shop. Writers love coffee! Even after all these years, I am usually hanging out in the lobby hugging necks and squealing as people arrive. It’s something I look forward to every year!
2. It’s a great place to learn more about the industry. The publishing industry has undergone massive changes in the past three years. A good writing organization and yearly conference helps you stay on top of the news. Traditional publishing is still launching debut authors, but the indie route is also a viable place for a polished, well-written novel. Learn more about everything. Be a sponge. Keep learning.
3. Notice I said polished, well-written in the point above. There are always GREAT workshops and tracks at the ACFW conference and other good conferences. Learn all you can, then go home and put it into practice. That’s one of the great things about writing—there is always something more to learn. I LOVE that! You never arrive as an author. You can always work on improving. I’m doing a little more plotting on this current book (GASP!) but I’m doing it my way with plotting out my mystery points. It’s been fun so far. Learn what works for you.
4. Have fun. Relax! Don’t be all tense and scared. Let go of the terror holding you back and realize we are all the same. If you’re at ACFW, come find me or any other author you don’t know but have read their books. Ask questions, be friendly and realize we are there because we WANT to meet you. We want to encourage you. Don’t be afraid to talk to the editor or agent at your table or at the coffee shop. But don’t look at them as though they are the answer to your dreams. They are people too, not just an end to a means of getting you published. Care about the people you meet, no matter who they are or what their name badge reads.
5. Keep up the contacts after you go home. Make sure you get a card or email from the people you connect with. Keep up those relationships and build on them through the year. Next year you’ll feel like you’re going to see old friends. And you are!
I hope to see you there!
I’m sure you’ve noticed that we haven’t posted much on our blog since we lost our beloved Diann. I’ll be very real with you and admit it’s been so hard without her. The essence of the love and joy she spread everywhere with her is here. When we miss her, we come here and read some of her posts, and we can hear her voice. :)
I’ve been doing a lot of radio interview for The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, and I’ve been talking about her a lot the way I always do. I don’t want anyone to forget her. One of the interviewers recently said she was glad I was talking about it because there’s no real space in society for grieving friends. A woman who loses her husband is a widow. A daughter who loses her parents is an orphan, but there’s no real term to explain the loss of a friend who is as close as a sister. I was so glad she mentioned it, because she was right. We don’t often talk about what it’s like to lose a friend who impacted every part of your life. I think many of us have experienced it though.
So I’m going to do what Di would want—carry on even as we celebrate all she taught us. Things like love and mercy and taking joy in the moment. She was a master at it!
I’m at an author retreat this weekend, and publicist Jeane Wynn ended her session on publicity with an amazing quote that has so lingered with me. I want to share it with you too. Read it slowly and contemplate exactly what it means. Without the tears and the sorrow, would we really experience the fullness of the joy and pleasure we have too? Life is about ups and downs, sorrow and joy. We learn something in every experience we go through daily.
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” ― Frederick Buechner, Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation
So how about you? What do you see has a key moment in your week? One of my moments this week was remembering how Kristin gave me my first entry drug to coffee—the iced mocha. I had one in her honor today to celebrate my love of coffee. LOL Small, yes? But the taste of good coffee brings me great joy, and it’s thanks to Kristin. ::)
This is a peek at my new kitchen. We don’t have the backsplash up yet but you can see a bit of it. :)
I’ve wanted an induction cooktop for decades. Back when we built our house in 1984 after a fire I thought about getting one, but they were super pricey so I went with a regular smooth top stove. But I eyed them every now and then anyway. We just redid our kitchen, and this time I made the jump. The cooktop was only a couple hundred dollars more than a regular smooth top cooktop so that was the first thing I bought.
If you’re considering an induction cooktop I highly recommend you make the move. Before you do, there is one thing to consider: You most likely will need new cookware. I was sure my Revere Ware copper bottom pans would work, but nope. We got that cooktop in and I had only one small skillet that would work. All the others had aluminum bottoms. Just test the bottoms of your pans with a magnet.
But this is a small price to pay for all the benefits.
1. Things cook fast. I mean FAST. The highest level of power on a burner boils water in my teakettle in just over a minute.
2 The kitchen stays cooler.
3. Instant control. At one point I accidentally turned off the wrong burner. The boiling instantly died. I touched it to turn it back on and it was instantly boiling again. Amazing!
4. The cooktop stays cooler. It still gets hot from the hot pot but not nearly as hot as if the burner is actually on.
5. The top cleans like a dream. There is no metal around the edge of the cooktop. It’s all glass so it wipes off easily. Things don’t burn onto the top because there’s no heat generated from a coil.
6. I love the touch controls. You just touch the glass.
7. It’s more energy efficient with no wasted heat. And faster cook time also minimizes energy use.
8. It’s just plain beautiful. :)
So there’s my review! I will never go back to anything else now. I’m actually enjoying cooking!