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Keeping the Dream Alive: ACFW Conference Recap

Keeping the Dream Alive: ACFW Conference Recap

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I spent this past weekend in Texas, surrounded by hundreds of like-minded authors and writers at the ACFW Conference. If you follow me on social media, you probably saw some of my pictures from the event. I came away from conference completely drained, and completely full all at the same time. Since many of you have been asking how conference went (thank you!), I figured I would give you a brief update here.

When I attended the ACFW conference last year, I was only a few months into my writing--still wet around the ears and in awe of the amazing authors surrounding me. I didn't have a completed manuscript, let alone the nerve to talk with industry professionals. While I'm still in awe of many of the authors that attended, this year was different. I finally felt like I belonged.

I came with a completed manuscript under my belt and a second in the works. I came with the confidence to strike up conversations with any and everyone, because I've realized that we're all in this together. I came with a book proposal and appointments to pitch my heart and soul to agents. But I also came to conference with questions. Mainly, is this long-held dream of mine something I'm supposed to keep pursuing?

Before conference I prayed that the Lord would give me direction and encouragement in regards to my writing--and that's exactly what I received.

I walked away from conference with my dream still held firmly in my heart, and the conviction that God's not through with my writing journey yet. Over and over I saw the Lord's hand in all the small details. Some, not so small.

Like running into Jen Turano on my first day. She took me and a few other newbies under her wing, answered questions, gave advice, and graciously introduced us to editors and agents--one of whom gave me her card and invited me to send her my proposal.

Then there's the published author I sat beside at breakfast one morning, and whose eyes lit up when I told her of my desire to reach young women in college. She hugged me, prayed for me, and later stopped me in the hall to ask how my pitch appointments went--the words of encouragement she spoke over me were exactly what I needed to hear.

My agent appointments provided affirmation of my writing, and ended in a request to see more. While I know this doesn't guarantee anything, it was far from a shut door.

Most of all, I was encouraged and bolstered by the friends I've made throughout this process. To be surrounded by fellow writers, all seeking to glorify God through their words--it was beautiful, sacred, and life-giving.

I know I still have a ways to go, lots to learn, and many more words to write, but I'm encouraged that this is exactly where God wants me to be. Thank you to everyone who has supported, encouraged, and come alongside me as I chase this God-dream!

With Shelli Littleton and Becky Wade--two of my favorite encouragers!

With Shelli Littleton and Becky Wade--two of my favorite encouragers!

It was so fun to connect with fellow New River Valley girl and Blue Ridge Mountain writer, Pepper Basham! I can't wait to read her new book, Charming the Troublemaker.

It was so fun to connect with fellow New River Valley girl and Blue Ridge Mountain writer, Pepper Basham! I can't wait to read her new book, Charming the Troublemaker.

My roomie, Amanda Cox!

My roomie, Amanda Cox!

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With Shelli at the awards gala

With Shelli at the awards gala

With the lovely and vibrant Jen Turano at the ACFW awards gala.

With the lovely and vibrant Jen Turano at the ACFW awards gala.

I connected with Kelsey Kamentz through fellow writing friends!

I connected with Kelsey Kamentz through fellow writing friends!

Such a joy to connect with Joanne Bischof, whose books are set in my little corner of Southwest VA!

Such a joy to connect with Joanne Bischof, whose books are set in my little corner of Southwest VA!

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2017 ACFW Pre-Conference Mix & Mingle

2017 ACFW Pre-Conference Mix & Mingle