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ACFW Checklist

Thursday, at 6:30 a.m., I’ll be flying out of Ontario Airport for Texas, to the biggest Christian writer’s conference in the nation. It’s my first such conference, so I figured I’d dive in the deep end. Being that I’m such an a.) homebody, b.) introvert and c.) pessimist, it’s quite a step of faith for me. Four hundred writers — at various stages of their careers — will be there agitating, schmoozing and clambering for the attention of a handfull of agents and editors.

Can’t imagine how Mr. Homebody / Introvert / Pessimist will fit in. . .

Nevertheless, I’m bringing a bundle of dreams from SoCal, along with a checklist. I tend to go with the flow at these types of things, try to observe, blend in and not force stuff to happen. That being the case, there are some things I’d like to happen.

  • Build relationships with other writers / bloggers – In the long run, this may the most important thing that happens. Many of the folks who visit this site, and other cyber-celebrities, will be attending. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the girls from my crit group — Ane, Gina, Janet, Kelly, Terri, Reni and others — who helped with the novel I’ll be pitching. Mike Snyder, Mark Bertrand, Jeanne Damoff, Deb Gyapong, Becky Miller, Mir (are you going?) and others are on my radar. Greatly wanting to just say thanks.

  • Learn the ropes – Three days of instruction, inspiration and information; nametags and nights without sleep, industry bigshots and professionals who have honed their craft. And amidst it all, opportunities to show my stuff to people who care. . .and matter. No doubt, my head will be spinning. But I guess if I’m gonna proceed professionally, I must learn how to run with the big dogs.

  • Attract an agent – This is sort of a long-range goal — one I’ve been working on since early this year. I have an appointment scheduled with an agent whom I’ve corresponded with, which I’m very excited about. If I can fly home from Dallas with some solid agent leads, I’d be thrilled.

  • Find inspiration – Not that I’m in big need of inspiration, but I can only imagine what being around 400 fiction writers must be like. Up to this point, carrying around intangible plots and half-hewn characters in my head, has been an odd affair. Getting 400 of the same type of folks together should be. . .jolly. Really, I’m wanting to come home with a full tank, a vision for my writing career and some shoulders to cry on when I falter.

  • Be myself – Sounds corny, huh? But in that environment, it’s probably easy to try to be someone else — try to be witty and cool and smooth and smart and. . . you get the picture. Lord, help me to stay within myself, not try to outshine the next person, and be thankful for the opportunities You give me.

Not sure when I’ll be posting again. Praying for travelling mercies and godspeed. . .and that I complete my checklist. Blessings!

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Kelly Klepfer September 19, 2006, 5:27 PM


    You don’t have to worry about being inspired. You know what inspiration the Penwrights have been via e-mail, can you imagine us without the internet delay? Don’t try, it might frighten you.

    As far as making an impression goes…I gave you my suggestions earlier.

    I’m driving to Minneapolis to get cheaper airfare and so I can fly with Michelle. Brace yourself Friendly Skies. But flying out of Ontario to get to Texas from SoCal really boggles my mind. : )

    But whatever works for you.

  • janet September 20, 2006, 2:43 AM

    Sounds like you and I are on the same wavelength. I’m not looking for an agent or anything like that, but I’m definately mentally “kicking back” and not worrying about being anything but plain ole Janet. That’s all God needs me to be. As Keith Green said, “He’ll take care of the rest…” Can’t wait to see you and all the pennies! Get some sleep bro…

  • Ame September 22, 2006, 2:09 PM

    Gosh, Mike, I’m really proud of you! I would imagine that if you take a moment and look back at the journey to “here” that you will be amazed at what God has done and who He is! Good for you wanting to be yourself! Looking forward to hearing all about it!

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