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
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