My 2017 Christy Awards and Art of Writing Conference Report
Jill Williamson on November 21, 2017
When I heard that King’s Folly had finaled for this year’s Christy Awards, I was tickled pink.
But I was totally not going Nashville.
Gut-honest confession time: I really don’t like award ceremonies. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about whether or not I’ll win. It is a huge honor to be nominated, but as a total introvert, sitting through a banquet, not knowing whether or not I might have to go on that stage and speak to everyone makes me nuts. Anxiety takes over my body. I might look like I’m holding it all together, but inside, it’s not pretty.
The only reason I was tempted to go the Nashville had nothing to do with the awards banquet and everything to do with what might be my only chance to ever meet co-finalist Beth Moore, whom I absolutely adore. ❤
But I wasn’t going to go. No way.
Until my friend Mindy of the Quirky Faith blog said she’d come with me.
This changed everything. If I had a friend with me–someone to keep me sane–I felt like I could handle it. So I changed my mind.
And I’m so glad I did. 😊
We arrived in Nashville, rented a car, and found our hotel. Then we went to downtown Nashville and walked around. We ate dinner at a place called Rippy’s. It was so good! There was a band playing in the restaurant, too. After dinner we walked around and shopped for cowboy boots, belts, and candy. Because . . . candy.
We got up early and drove to Brentwood, TN and the offices of Dave Ramsey. Mindy had an appointment to meet a man there whose small group donates to the Rwanda clinic that our church started. We parked the car and went inside. The first thing I noticed was that most all the cars in the parking lot had my last name on them! Turns out Dave Ramsey’s offices are in Williamson County, Tennessee. Then next thing we noticed was that people were milling all around the parking lot. It was strange. I felt like I’d walked into a Sims game. Inside, we ran into an old friend of Mindy’s sister, who now works for Dave Ramsey, so he gave us a tour. Turns out Wednesday is company devotional day. The guest speaker had cancelled, so they had done a prayer walk instead, which explains the Sims people. What a neat place to work! Sadly, Dave was in Arizona, so we didn’t get to meet him. But we got to see his studio and his office. He has a round table in his office with a crest on it.
I need a round table with a crest on it.
I probably need an office first to put it in. Oh well. I’ll add that to the dream list. 😉
While we waited for Mindy’s meeting, we were served free coffee from the coffee shop in the lobby and took pictures.
Then we stopped at a Barnes and Noble to buy books that we hoped we’d later get autographed, then headed into the city to eat lunch at Biscuit Love. We were way too slow, however, looking at the scenery and mansions as we drove. We had to get over to the Art of Writing conference by 12:30, so we only had time to get some bonuts to go (donuts made from biscuit dough. Let me just say: yummy.)
We caught the shuttle to Lipscomb University, eating our bonuts on the way. We met Theon Hill on the shuttle and learned he was one of the conference speakers. The conference was fun. There were four sessions. I’ll talk about the things I learned at the conference over on the Go Teen Writers blog tomorrow. I had fun introducing Mindy to many of my writer friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years! Somehow I forgot to get a picture with my friend Melanie Dickerson, though I did make her sign a book plate for The Silent Songbird, to put in my daughter’s book. Isn’t she funny? LOL
After the conference, we changed into our dresses for the Christy Awards, but first we got to attend a VIP Reception. I’d never been invited to a VIP Reception before, so that was quite fun. It was also our first Beth Moore sighting, though we didn’t get to talk to her there. We did get the sad news that Charles Martin had cancelled. He is one of Mindy’s favorite authors, so that was a disappointment.
We arrived at the banquet room and went straight to Beth Moore. She signed our books and took a picture with us. She calls her novel her “Big Girl,” which was sweet, and totally understandable. I feel like all of my novels are my children. 🙂
Now that we had succeeded in our mission, we were able to enjoy ourselves. We took lots more pictures. We sat at a Bethany House table with David Long, Amy Green, and several other Bethany House authors. Dinner was delicious, and there was cheesecake for dessert. Chris Fabry MC’d the event (and won two Christy Awards!), Karen Kingsbury keynoted, and Andrew Peterson entertained us with some amazing music. I did not win a Christy Award that night, which was totally fine with me. I read both Jolina’s book and Jim Rubart’s. They were both wonderful, and Jim’s very much deserved the honor. There were free books on all the tables, so I collected a pretty impressive pile of books to take home. Even more so that I managed to fit all these into my carry on luggage! We went back to the hotel that night and packed, then collapsed. It had been a long, but very fun day.
We only had the morning before our plan left, so we started out at the Grand Ole Opry, then went back to Biscuit Love for lunch. There was a line this day, and we waited for nearly an hour! The Country Music Awards had gone on the night before and almost everyone we net had a story to tell about seeing Garth Brooks! After lunch, we posed with some angel graffiti art and took pictures of the skyline. It was a wonderful adventure, and I’m so glad I decided to go.
Have you ever said “No” to something you really wanted to do because you were afraid? Next time see if you can be brave and say “Yes” instead. If you’re on the fence, it might help to take a friend. 🙂
P.S. Sauon’s Tower
I saw this building over and over. I realize it has an AT&T logo on it, but it sure did look like Sauron’s tower from the Lord of the Rings. Thankfully, there was no sign of the eye . . .