By Kelly Bridgewater
Standing in line at the ACFW conference, waiting to attend my mentor appointment with Ronie Kendig, everyone around me is a buddle of nerves. Because they are meeting with agents and editors to pitch their latest writings. Some of the writers have been writing for a long time, whereas, some others haven’t been writing that long at all, but they think they have a great book that an agent or an editor would love to represent.
Five months later, I attended the Advance Writer’s Boot Camp in Asheville, North Carolina. Again the same scenario. Everyone wanted to meet with the agent and editors, praying for a book deal. Anything to validate their writing skills.
But me, on the other hand, was not there to meet with agents and editors. I wanted to sit at the feet of the published writers and learn from them. It reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha from the Bible. I wanted to sit at the writer’s feet like Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and learn from others who have been published. I want to keep learning until I feel comfortable with my writing. Maybe have a couple more manuscripts under my belt. Right now, I have two complete 90,000 word novels written, but I’m still learning things everyday to improve my writing.
Running around pitching my idea will be something I will do later, but I, currently, don’t believe my writing is good enough. I entered the ACFW First Impression contest last fall and the Frasier contest this past spring. All four judges agree with me. I received threes from both contests. I still have some learning to do.
Right now, I want to learn from the tap. Develop relationship with published writers. Maybe even find a mentor who is published who will take the time to look at my writing out of the kindness of their heart and invest their knowledge into my writing. (I’ll take offers, if anyone is willing!) I have improved a lot since joining the ACFW, but I still have some growing to do. I don’t want to stand around and make the ACFW conference a tense place for me. I don’t want to wander what is wrong with my idea as I bounce from one foot to another while my palms are sweaty and my heart beats loudly. Really don’t need that type of stress.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a conference is most likely the way most of us unpublished writers will catch the attention of an agent or an editor, but I, personally, don’t feel ready to do that yet. When I start receiving better scores on the contest I enter, then I will be right there with the masses looking for an agent or editor.
Are you willing to wait to present to an agent or editor or do you have to be like Martha and run around the conference, trying to get the big deal while not learning from the published writers who have volunteered to teach their skills at a conference? What are your ideas about meeting with agents and editors at a conference?