• ACFW,  conferences,  writing

    So, You’re Not at the ACFW Conference

    So…you’re staying home from ACFW this year? Me too.


    St. Louis MBT PP


    For a Christian writer, ACFW is the big event of the year. It’s a place where crazy authors from all over the world meet in one place and feel normal for a few days. A great experience, but one that I can’t afford to attend each year.


    The way I see it, we have a choice. We can watch all the updates on Facebook and dip into I-wish-I-were-there self-pity, or we can take the time we have at home and further out writing careers in a different way.


    Here’s a few things to prioritize this week:


    1. Continued commitment to your writing goals. Monday through Saturday I have a minimum word count goal. Right now, because I’m doing more editing than writing, my goal is 600 words. Next month I’ll start a new manuscript and the goal will increase to 2,500. At the end of the day I mark my number on the calendar and total the week on Saturday. Set yourself goals and stick to them.
    2. Spend time learning. There are so many resources we can access from home. Check your local bookstore, library or writers group for books on writing. Check out some blogs focused on craft. Listen to audio recordings from past conferences. And of course, read a good book in your genre.
    3. Connect with others. It’s easy for my introverted self to nestle in at home with only my laptop for company. Take some time to reconnect with friends. Go out for coffee and just enjoy a good conversation.
    4. Take your writing somewhere new. If you work from home, go to a coffee shop, or the library. A change of environment is a great way to spark new creativity.
    5. Cheer on those who did go. Jealousy and comparing ourselves to others will only serve to zap our energy and passion. Those who are attending ACFW this week are some of our friends, and they’ve worked hard to be there. Let’s get behind them and pray them through the week.
    6. Start making plans to attend a conference. Next year the ACFW conference will be in Dallas, Texas. The year after that, Nashville. Conferences are expensive and time-consuming, but I’ve never left feeling I’ve wasted my money. Start saving now. Consider applying for the ACFW scholarship. If you can’t manage this national conference, look for a local option. Last year I attended Mount Hermon, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had.



    Do you have any other suggestions? Post them in the comments. I’d love to hear them.


    Have a great and productive week,


  • ACFW,  conferences,  guest blogger

    Conference Season – part 2 – ACFW

    A Buffaloe’s Roamings Through the ACFW Conferences

    By Lisa Buffaloe

    In 2007, I attended my first ACFW conference in Dallas. Bolstered by friends I had met through Lena Nelson Dooley’s critique group, I came in with wide-eyes and pen poised ready to learn. The worship every morning, incredible classes each day, and the fellowship with old and new friends were amazing blessings. I even had the chance to visit with (*ahem* stalk the agent) I wanted for representation.


    Unfortunately during that time, due to Lyme Disease, my white count was being monitored weekly by doctors. My second day at the conference, my results came back at a dangerously low levels. I hurried to the prayer room, where Mary DeMuth and Brandilyn Collins prayed over me. In the midst of hundreds of people, God used these wonderful ladies to cover me with His protection.


    Brandilyn Collins and Lisa – ACFW 2010

    Unfortunately, the time spent in the prayer room caused me to be late for an editor appointment. I didn’t explain my reasons for my tardiness; I just tried to pitch my book. The editor wasn’t very impressed. Whimper.


    In 2008, the conference in Minneapolis was again a wonderful opportunity to visit with friends, learn the craft of writing, and engage in incredible worship. The Mall of America book signing was a fun way to spend an afternoon watching author friends interact with readers.

    Lisa and Tamela Hancock Murray – ACFW 2010


    The 2009 conference in Denver, was again an awesome opportunity to visit with my buddies, attend wonderful classes, meet new friends, worship, and pitch to acquisitions editors.


    I call the 2010 ACFW Conference in Indianapolis, The Amazing Divine Setup. My manuscript, Nadia’s Hope placed as a finalist in the Genesis contest, and I wondered if my time for publication had come. For my all-day flights, I purchased Jim Rubart’s novel, Rooms. I started reading at the Boise airport and finished when the plane touched down in Indiana. The book is basically a metaphor for how God walks us through past experiences (rooms) on our way to healing and to Him. God used Jim’s book to prepare my heart.


    One of my appointments was with the same editor from 2007. Needless to say, I was scared stiff. However this time, as I walked into the meeting room, she cocked her head, smiled and said, “I remember you.” God had prepared the way. She asked two questions, one personal and one about my writing. And those questions I knew weren’t just from her. God was gently nudging me forward regarding my past and my writing. My manuscript didn’t win the Genesis contest, but I’m still smiling about God’s divine setup.


    That night during the Harp and Bowl prayer session, I kept my head down in prayer as songs were played and others prayed. I cried, laughed, praised, and listened.  I surrendered my ideas and my thoughts as I opened myself to whatever God desired to do with me and my writing. I’m still smiling.


    The 2011 conference wasn’t what I expected. In many ways, the time was more than I could have hoped—laughter and hugs with friends I don’t see often enough, giggling until midnight with my roommate, howling over the ideas of goofy genres a publisher would never consider, and sweet times of praise during worship. Classes, meetings, opportunities to learn, and even the mortified snickering over food caught between my teeth at the lunch table prompting a scenario that could lead to a hilarious scene in a romantic comedy.

    Lisa and Lynne Gentry – ACFW 2011

    Then there were tears of dashed hopes, and the longing for hugs that didn’t come because of schedules, sick children, and the interruptions of life.


    However this conference wasn’t just about writing. Before I had left home, I received a phone call about an opportunity. The offer wasn’t anything on my radar and not where I thought God was leading. During the entire conference I prayed for guidance and finally received the answer before I flew home.


    I sat in the airport and peered around the corner of a different, unexpected, exciting God-orchestrated turn. Today I’m hosting Living Joyfully Free Radio, and I marvel at God’s goodness and the ways He has been working. My writing continues with daily blogs and articles, and my fiction waits in the wings for God’s perfect timing on publication.
    When God says He knows the plans He has for you, trust Him. His ways are always the best, and exceedingly, more than we could ask or imagine.


    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD…” (Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV).


    Lisa Buffaloe is an avid blogger, writer, speaker, and radio host for Living Joyfully Free Radio. She is a contributing author of The One Year Book of Joy and Laughter. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications and in e-zines. Her fiction manuscripts, have placed as finalists the last two years in the Women of Faith writing contest, and also finished as a runner-up in the 2010 American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) Genesis Contest, and finaled in various other contests. Lisa is represented by literary agent, Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency.


    I’m so pleased that Lisa took the time to share here. The ACFW conference is a life-changer. I’ve attended the last four years and strongly recommend this conference to fiction writers of all levels.


    The ACFW 2012 Conference is open for registration.

    Dates: September 20-23, 2012

    Location: Dallas, Texas


    Conference Season – Part 1

    April 20 – Angela Breidenbach – Inland NW Conference

    April 27 – Kimberly Buckner – My Book Therapy

    May 4 – Christina Tarabochia – Oregon Christian Writers Summer Coaching Conference

    May 11 – Karen Barnett – Mount Hermon

    May 18 – Blue Ridge – Jodie Bailey


  • ACFW,  conferences,  writing

    Conference Season – part 1

    Today I’m kicking off a series on Christian writer’s conferences. For the next several weeks we will be visited each Friday by guest bloggers who will give us the inside scoop about different conferences.

    We’re covering the large, national conferences, like ACFW (registration opened yesterday) as well as some more local conferences. Many will be familiar but a few may be new names.

    My own conference memories are some of the blessings along this bumpy road to publication. One of the best times came at the ACFW conference in Indianapolis. My critique buddies, Jodie Bailey, Donna Moore and Kimberly Buckner were there too. It was the first time I’d met two of these women, although our friendships had grown deep through email. I will never forget seeing my dear friends face-to-face for the first time.

    Yes, it’s a financial investment, but I’ve never come home with regrets.

    Why should a writer attend conferences?

    1. There is no substitute for personally meeting with agents and editors. Many do not take unsolicited queries or proposals. This is your opportunity to get your work seen.

    2. Writing is a solitary job. Conferences give us the opportunity to commune with other who think like we do. There is something refreshing about being in the room with a group of other people who see things…differently.

    3. The knowledge obtained in a few days can push your abilities to new levels. A good conference offers relevant workshops taught by competent teachers.

    4. Recharge and refresh. There’s something about those day with other like-minded authors that leaves me ready to dive back into my own work. I’m reminded of why I do this, and I leave with a renewed strength.

    April 13 – Lisa Buffaloe – ACFW National Conference

    April 20 – Angela Breidenbach – Inland NW Conference

    April 27 – Kimberly Buckner – My Book Therapy

    May 4 – Christina Tarabochia – Oregon Christian Writers Summer Coaching Conference

    May 11 – Karen Barnett – Mount Hermon

    May 18 – Blue Ridge – Jodie Bailey

    Are you planning to attend a conference this year? If so, which one?

  • ACFW,  writing

    Busy, busy, busy…

    There’s been no time to blog. Those Genesis entries need to be in this weekend. Technically, I think we have until March 2, but the Genesis rulers have requested that entries are in by the 26th to avoid the dreaded Cyber-monster who eats up the most important of our email and leaves the spam untouched.


    You’d think I’d be ready by now. I do this every year.




    Writing isn’t an art that ever finds a definite point of finality. Every manuscript can be made better. I can be completely satisfied then look at the page again two weeks later and see a whole new crop of weaknesses.


    It’s not just me. I could send the same ten pages to my critique group for years, and I’d never have them say, “Yep. Now it’s perfect.” Isn’t that great? They keep pushing for better.


    So, I’m off to tear apart that first scene again. For some reason, it’s not right.


    And I only have a couple days to figure out why.


    I’m blessed to be busy.


    What are you working on today?