I arrived at the ACFW Conference in Nashville with a splash – literally. About thirty seconds after I met my roommates for the first time in the hotel restaurant, the server knocked a glass over and showered me with ice water. You might say that “broke the ice” for me and my friends.

You see, I’m pretty bashful when it comes to socializing in person, even if I’ve chatted with the same people on Facebook. (A lot of writers are introverted, though some are fairly chatty and outgoing.) At last year’s conference, I struggled to loosen up and be myself. This year, I vowed to not let my shyness ruin my experience.

With the help of my wonderful roommates, I ended up having a great experience at the conference. If you’ve ever been to a large conference – one packed with sessions, meetings, and events – you’ll understand that it can zap your energy. Trust me, I was exhausted the entire week after I returned. But while I was there, I soaked up everything and allowed my adrenaline to carry me through each busy day.

I won’t bore you with a detailed summary, but I will tell you that I learned a lot in the workshops I attended – which included topics such as marketing, writing series, community-building, and the spiritual aspect of writing fiction. All sessions were taught by seasoned authors, which was fun for newbies like me who hold these authors in high esteem. The two keynote speeches by bestselling author Debbie Macomber were inspiring, and I was fortunate enough to catch her for a picture! I also grabbed a photo with one of my favorite authors, Tamera Alexander.

While at the conference, I met with three literary agents to seek writing career advice. Each agent was easy to talk to, and, when the time comes, I will likely send proposals to all three. God will figure it out from there!

Overall, I learned to surrender my plans to God. The third agent appointment was not one I’d requested, yet it turned out to be the most promising meeting of the three. I don’t believe that was an accident. What will come of it, only God knows, but He’ll reveal His reasons in His perfect timing.

While overwhelming and tiring, I love the ACFW Conference because it’s the only time I can network with other writers face-to-face, and the opportunities to learn, meet with industry professionals, and be inspired are priceless.

I hope to attend ACFW 2019 in San Antonio, but since our first child will be starting college next year, it may not be in the cards, financially. However, I also know if God wants me there, He’ll make it happen. Either way, I came away from ACFW 2018 with a great deal of hope and a drive to keep writing!

Blessings,

~ Anne