Wanda Dyson's been called a "natural" and a "master of pacing," but her fans know that whether it's police thrillers, suspense, or bringing a true story to life, Wanda knows how to take them on a journey they'll never forget. Wanda is a multipublished suspense author, currently writing for Random House/Waterbrook. Her one attempt at a nonfiction book was picked for an exclusive release on Oprah. Wanda lives in Western Maryland on a 125 acre farm with a menagerie of animals and when she's not writing critically acclaimed suspense, or away at conferences, you can find her zipping across the fields on a 4-wheeler with Maya, her German Shepherd, or plodding along at a more leisurely pace on her horse, Nanza. With the release of her newest hit, Judgment Day, Wanda is heading back to the keyboard to start on her next high-octane thriller, The Vigilante. In addition to writing full time, she is also the appointment coordinator for the CCWC, Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers, and ACFW Writers conferences. Visit her Website at www.WandaDyson.com.
Well, the ACFW conference is over. Months of building up in anticipation, four days of rushing around, and then suddenly you’re on a plane headed home. You have pictures in your cell phone as a reminder that you really were there and you really had a great time, but you’re just too tired to think.
The conference was spectacular. Oh, sure, there were a few glitches, but nothing that marred the conference in any way. Great teachers and great people; lots of picture taking, laughing, and sharing; tons of some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, and way too much of it to eat; and then the awards banquet where Janette Oke made an appearance.
Book sales are down, publishing companies are laying off, editors aren’t acquiring as many books, and what they are looking for had better be off the charts in terms of quality because there just isn’t the room for “good” anymore. To that end, many of the editors took far fewer appointments this year. That makes it hard for the overwhelming numbers who are standing in line, hoping to show their work to someone. I totally understand your need to know that Father is in control, and if you are meant to meet with that particular editor, He will make it happen.
But in spite of the crunch in the industry, Philly registrations were right up there where they were supposed to be, and ACFW saw a record number of attendees. I know that the appointment requests on my desk were double what they were just two years ago. Regardless of the economy, writers know that they need to be at these conferences—not just for the fellowship or the appointments, but for the workshops, the media training, the encouragement, the fellowship, and the latest on industry happenings.
If you can’t afford to go to a big conference like ACFW, many local and regional conferences are more affordable to attend. Many conferences offer working scholarships, and some conferences have full-ride scholarships if you apply early enough. Pray about it. Again, Father can make a way out of no way. Ask Him to make a way if you’re supposed to be at one of these conferences.
I love every conference I go to, and each has its own unique flavor, so it’s hard to pick one and say it’s my favorite, but I can point to each one and tell you why they’re all my favorites. Colorado—you can’t beat the magnificent mountains, the sense of worship and peace, the elk and coyotes, and the hayride. Philadelphia—the multicultural atmosphere, the old friends, the sense of community, and, of course, the duck pond. And ACFW—like a big family reunion in a fancy hotel with a chance to dress up, hopping from one group to another, each welcoming you with a big smile and a lot of hugs before you move on to the next group, and some top-notch teachers like Donald Maass, Michael Hauge, and James Scott Bell.
But whatever conference you decide to go to, you will find fellow authors to network with, great classes where you learn more than you expected to learn, a camaraderie that you don’t get at home (unless you live with a house full of writers), and the time to focus your writing on the One who called you to write in the first place.
Until next time, keep writing!
October: UPSTATE SC ACW FALL WORKSHOP; Anderson, SC, 75 expected to attend; Elvamartinministries@charter.net
October 9: NORTHWEST OHIO CHRISTIAN WRITERS’ CONFERENCE; Toledo, OH, 50 expected to attend; Mlka@toast.net
October (late): EARLHAM SCHOOL OF RELIGION/MINISTRY OF WRITING COLLOQUIUM; Richmond, IN, 100–200 expected to attend; email@example.com
TENTATIVE 2011 CONFERENCES
January: GLEN EYRIE FICTION WRITERS CONFERENCE, Colorado Springs CO – 100; 800-944-4536; www.gleneyriegroup.org
January: MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY WRITERS’ RETREAT, Schuyler NE- 10; 402-727-6508