If you write fiction and have never gone to an ACFW conference, you’ve missed a treat. It feels like spending the weekend with 400 of your closest friends. It feels like a fun family reunion.
I’ve been to Christian writing conferences before, but never to anything like this. The emphasis on your relationship with the Lord is paramount. Opportunities for worship and prayer abound. Editors and published writers alike were accessible and encouraging, their humility worn like a pair of old pajamas.
I came home mulling over many things. My writing schedule. My writing goals. My pursuit of craft. My pursuit of the Lord.
I also came home with new friends—real people attached to names I’ve seen on email loops or blogs as well as some that were new altogether.
I didn’t place in the Genesis contest. And you know what? It didn’t ruin my weekend. Although I was disappointed, I wasn’t devastated. It let me know I still have some work to do, still have a goal to shoot for.
I had good appointments and disappointing ones with editors and agents, but those didn’t color my weekend, either. God has really been doing something over the past year and half, because this weekend a rejection of my writing did not feel like a rejection of ME. Nor did an encouraging word send me soaring to unrealistic heights. And that is major improvement. I no longer need success to validate me.
My validation is in Jesus—and it never changes.