I had a wonderful time at the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference. It was both an incredible and very humbling experience to feel God’s presence at each session and during each conversation. I felt like I was walking on air the entire weekend. I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time. The first day I was there I met Peter Leavell. He wrote a book, entitled Gideon’s Call. It is about a young slave boy who is freed after the Civil War. My book is based during the Civil War, so Peter was gracious and offered me advice on my own writing. The next day, I met with Janice Thompson who is amazing, not only as a writer, but also as a person. She sat with me and went over my story line by line for 3 pages while giving me constructive feedback that helped me tremendously in rewriting the beginning of my novel. Then, I think of my meeting with Cynthia Ruchti and how she was so excited to sit with this newbie and develop my outline further. She gave me invaluable feedback on how to develop deeper character lines. I am just so thankful that God has placed such godly and generous people in the writing profession. I hope you will click on the author’s links above and check out their books. I am eternally grateful to them for their kindness.
After the conference was over I was sad to think that it would be another year, before I would be able to experience it all again. It was not only encouraging and inspiring, but also motivational. I am more motivated than ever to get my book finished! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am at the thought of going to the conference next year with my finished manuscript in hand. It was an eye opening experience to see what I need to change in my writing style and what I need to do to expand my story. I loved hearing all the feedback.
I think I loved the criticism even more, because I know that it will be through change that I will become a stronger writer. I want to be the writer God has called me to be and that is going to require growth on my part. I can not remain the same person I was last month and expect to be the best possible Stacey or the best possible writer. I have to continue to look for ways to learn and grow both as a writer and as a Christian.
Yes, I am happy to be home with my family. I missed them a great deal, but I am already counting down the days until I can be with my writer friends again. I just have to finish my book! Hold me accountable, pester me, make me write when I am discouraged, because I must be persistent in order to be successful.
I encourage you, dear reader, find what it is that ignites your passion and live for that moment.