Writer's Survival Guide 22: Crazy Conference Emotions
Next week, I'm attending ACFW's annual conference for the very first time! The last few years, I've watched my friends and fellow writers prepare and head to this gathering of Christian fiction writers, and my heart clenched a bit at being left behind. So, when my husband and I decided this year was my year to attend, I expected to be over-the-moon excited.
But...I felt the exact opposite.
Yeah, you can call me crazy, but my first reaction flew to worry. I worried if we'd be able to afford it. I worried the expense would force my family, yet again, to sacrifice for my writing career.
Then I got over the worry, and I learned some of my dear friends wouldn't be attending. I got a little sad. What's a conference without my critique partners? I just want to give them a big old hug, you know?
This summer my exercising habits slipped. So a new emotion hopped on board. Yeah, vanity. Did I really want people's first impression of me to be of me at my highest non-pregnancy weight? Of course not!
Hey, I know this is whiny. I get it. I don't like it either.
The last few weeks brought even more emotions. Fear at making a bad--or forgettable--impression on editors.
But all that changed.
So what happened?
I'll tell you exactly what happened. I was in the TJMaxx dressing room, trying on a dress I later described to Miss Jessica Patch as one of Mrs. Roper's cast-offs (from Three's Company), and I wanted to give up. On everything.
I couldn't find a dress for the gala. I couldn't expect editors to love my work. I couldn't lose even one pound before conference. And I couldn't believe how depressed I felt.
But, as I headed to Kohl's and gagged in the mirror at a Daisy Fuentes dress that looked fabulous on Daisy in the picture but hideous on me, I realized (and I believe this is God's grace shining through His Holy Spirit), I could find a dress for the gala. I could expect editors to love my work. I could lose one measly pound before conference. And I couldn't believe how blessed I am.
Look, conferences should be wonderful. They should leave us breathless with excitement. They should be a time for us to catch up and connect with friends and publishing professionals.
But it's normal to be jittery. It's normal to feel a full range of emotions, especially if you're like me, and have been doing this a long time. I've been through rejections, and I know nothing is a sure thing. Not a perfect pitch appointment. Not even a polished, terrific manuscript. So many things are beyond our control.
It's okay to be scared, vain, sad, worried--as long as it doesn't stop us from reaching for our dreams.
By the way, I still do not have a dress for the gala. We'll see if I can come up with something this week!
Are you going to the ACFW conference? I would LOVE to meet up with you! Let me know in the comments or send me an e-mail and I'll be sure to keep an eye out when I get there!
Have you been to a writing conference? What kinds of emotions did you deal with?
Have a terrific Monday!