ACFW 2009 Annual Conference part 1

Thursday morning I pulled my tired body out of bed at what seemed like a crazy time. I threw myself together and went directly to the Starbucks in the lobby. By the time the conference was over the man behind the counter knew me well.

My fat-free Carmel Machiato in hand, I trudged to the registration desk for my shift. Luckily I wasn’t doing a job that took much skill because I was still very sleepy. Greeting the attendees and giving them their special ribbons was a nice way to start my day. So many wonderful people to meet and not nearly the time to talk to each one.

It was at the registration desk that I met one of my critique partners face-to-face for the first time. What a blessing. Our group has been working together for six months now, but we’re from all over the country so we’ve not technically met each other. I’m looking forward meeting more of the group next year in Indianapolis. Isn’t that right, Janay, Jodie, Ginny and Donna?

Next it was off to the D0nald Maas early bird session. If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of Donald Maas. His book, Writing the Breakout Novel, is a must have for writers hoping to improve their craft. The workshop ran from 8:00 am through 4:00 pm. The information he shared with us changed more than a few writer. I can’t tell you how many times I heard writers say, “I thought I had a manuscript ready, then I listened to Donald Maas and I have to go home and rewrite.” Yes, I was one of those writers. By the end of the day, my head was bursting with information and I had to go up to my room and just sit in the silence.

After a good half hour of staring blankly at a wall I was able to rejoin the throng of ACFWers for the opening ceremony and dinner. This year’s keynote speaker was Debbie Macomber. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this woman. Her story encouraged me and left me with a feeling of confidence in my decision to pursue writing. She is not only a gifted writer, but an amazing speaker and woman of faith.

Here’s a picture of Debbie Macomber and me. My camera was acting up this morning so it may be a little hard to see.

Check back for part two.


Christina Suzann Nelson is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of six books, including More Than We Remember, What Happens Next, and the Christy Award-winning The Way It Should Be. She is the mother of six children and is passionate about helping others find hope after trauma.

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