Girls Write Out
Thursday, June 16, 2011

Writing is one of the few businesses with a very small required investment. A computer, printer, books on writing, and a membership in ACFW, That’s the bare minimum. You can get books on writing from the library so buying them isn’t necessarily an expense you have to have. So now you’re in pretty good shape. Or are you?

There’s one expense I consider vital. A conference a year. Some writers object to the cost of a conference. I counter that by saying ANY business requires you to invest some money. In the scheme of things, the cost of the ACFW conference is a drop in the bucket. And there’s nothing that can take its place. Nowhere else can you meet editors and agents face-to-face. Nowhere else can you find people who “get” you. The rest of the year we’re like birds underwater. We’re gasping for the air of creativity, to find like-minded people. Among our own, we are free in a way that we never see without that experience.

When I was first writing, I’d never even met another writer. I call that my “wandering in the wilderness.” My first conference was a small Indiana one called the Midwest Writer’s Conference down at Muncie. I went on a scholarship that year. It was the most remarkable experience to find out that I wasn’t strange, that other people had characters living in their heads too. The next conference was after I was published, and it was Glorietta. I met Kristin Billerbeck and Carol Cox at the conference along with Tracie Peterson and other “stars” that I’d only dreamed of meeting. I was hooked when I realized I got to meet editors and agents. Hallelujah!

Then I started going to the Mount Hermon’s conference every year with Kristin and Denise Hunter. Diann Hunt began to join us, and I met Ami McConnell for the first time. That conference changed my life. I can clearly picture sitting on the floor outside the advanced writers session and pitching Without a Trace to her. She bought it and I’ve been with Nelson nine years now, writing the stories of my heart. So conferences have changed the game plan for me in many ways.

The ACFW conference is phenomenal. Nowhere else will you find so many FICTION writers gathered together. Nowhere else will you find so many editors and agents for fiction. Nowhere else will you have so much opportunity to connect with someone with your same passions.

People ask me why I still go to conferences. I’m at my dream house. I have a great agent who has helped me for ten years. What benefit is there for a published author? The benefits are still huge! Being with people who understand you is incredible. There is a lot of synergy gathered in one place at the conference. I get to meet with my agent, editor and publisher. I get to spend quality time with my peeps. I am privileged to encourage those just starting out on their journeys, to look them in the eye and tell them they can do it. The road can be hard and the climb steep, but the rewards are waiting.

So is it worth the sacrifice to get there? Yes, a resounding yes. Come, you won’t be disappointed. It’s the first step to success.

Colleen Coble  
posted at 4:11 PM  
  Comments (12)
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At 8:10 PM, Blogger Ashley said...

I can't wait to go to one!! Hopefully someday soon! :)

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

I attended my first ACFW conference nearly two years ago in Denver, and the only reason I went was to hang out with my writing friends. Actually, that's the only reason I ever attend conferences these days. Hanging out with fellow Christian novelists--there's nothing like it in the world.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Jaime Wright said...

Oh its SO worth it!!!!!! I'll miss it desperately this year, but can't wait for 2012! :)

At 5:48 AM, Blogger jel said...

as fun as that sounds
there are 2 things that keep me from going.

1. not a writer
2. have a fear of LARGE CROWDS

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Pamela Meyers said...

I agree, Colleen. I've had the blessing of attending ALL of ACFW's conferences since 2002 when we had the first one. Every year I come home thinking, we've reached the top now. The next ones can't be better than this year's. But they have been. This year I will be attending for the first time as a contracted author! That is just awesome. I can honestly say that over the years my experiences at conference have contributed hugely to developing me as an author, preparing me for this new season in my writing life. I can't wait for September!

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

LOL, jel. I fear large crowds, too. Sometimes I'm not a writer, either. But friends are the draw for me.

At 12:06 AM, Blogger Rockin' Ruby said...

My dream has been to become a writer. I'd like to see my novels on a shelf one day. I discovered the art of writing at 15 and can't seem to stop (I'm 21). When I was 17, an author told me about ACFW. I'm really curious about it but I'm kind of scared to find out that I'm not as good as my friends say.

At 12:41 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

You're not going to find that out, Ruby, you'll just find out how to make your writing better.

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Ruby, anything worth doing requires courage. Suck it up and join! :)

At 12:19 PM, Blogger cbalmony said...

I'll be there with bells on. Whatever that means. It will be my first and I hope to meet at least one of the Girl's Write Out bunch. Can't wait!

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I'm so excited you'll be there! Make sure you find us. I'm pretty visible since I'm CEO so just ask anyone where i am. Whoohoo!

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

We'll be there!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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