This week I’ve started one of my favorite times of the year, running first time orientation for the ACFW conference. A few years ago we realized that approximately a third of our attendees any given year were first timers. I’ll never forget my first time at conference in 2005.
I went with a fellow writer from Indiana — a gal I’d met once or twice — yet, we became fast friends in the six hour drive to Nashville. I met Tracie Peterson for the first time looking like a drowned cat — boy, would I like a photo of that first impression! Am I ever excited that she is the keynote speaker this year!
I’m also excited though because this is the 10th ACFW conference. I haven’t attended all, but I have attended each one since 2005. Why?
- Because it’s the one time a year, I get to spend time with many of my dearest writing friends. It really is like a giant (we’re expecting 700 this year) family reunion.
- I learn so much from the workshops and speakers.
- I get to give back a fraction of what has been given to me. This year I’m co-teaching three workshops: one on research with Tricia Goyer (love her!) and two with super-agent Steve Laube and fellow author Rick Acker on publishing contracts and e-books.
- I get to celebrate with friends as the Carol and Genesis Awards are handed out at the Gala.
But why do I invest two months in the first time orientation program? Because I remember what it was like to step into the conference hotel. To have spent hours traveling from my home to a destination that held so many of my dreams. To know that even as an extrovert, I was scared and out of my comfort zone. I want to remove as many of those concerns and replace them with information, friendships, and the certainty that if God has prepared a way to attend, then He has a plan for your time at ACFW. So come expecting and excited to see what He will do.
One thing I know with certainty. God always shows up and works in amazing ways at ACFW.