|R-L: Cynthia Herron, Jessica Patch, Me, Ruth Douthitt, Lindsay Harrel, Michelle Masarro, Gabrielle Meyer, Keli Gwyn, and April Gardner|
Attending a conference is a big decision. Many writers are introverts, and the thought of conversing with so many people stresses them out. Others wonder if their manuscripts are ready for agents or editors. Some face travel concerns or family issues that make going to conference daunting. For everyone, the cost is a factor. Going to a conference isn't cheap!
R-L: Julie Jarnigin, Susan Crawford, and guest
But if you've made the decision to go, I have a tip for you. It's not just any tip. It's my best tip.
Before I share it with you, I'm going to be very honest. This tip does not come naturally to me, and I have to remind myself of it often. I've been to various conferences, and sometimes I've left this tip at home and later wished I hadn't.
R-L: Melissa Jaegers, Gina Conroy, and me
Here it is, my best ACFW Conference tip.
Pray for God's will to be done, not yours.
See, I had the wrong idea when I started writing. I thought if I worked hard enough, studied enough, built my platform, continued to write daily, got an agent, went to a conference and pitched my story, and you-fill-in-the-blank--I would, of course, be published!
R-L: Amy Leigh Simpson, Katie Ganshert, Gabrielle Meyer, Cynthia Herron, and Sarah Forgrave
My mind-set would naturally focus on "doing things right" at conference. Practicing my pitch. Being engaging. Having a fabulous one-sheet. Not making a fool of myself.
Me and Jessica Patch--prepare yourself, lady! (You, too, Cindy H.!!)
But God doesn't need my help. I'm not saying working hard and preparing and persevering aren't important--they are!! It's just, too often I've put my fate in MY hands. Then I would be miserable when my perfect pitch fell flat, an editor barely glanced at the one-sheet, or I talked too much and made a fool of myself.
Two of my favorite ladies! Lindsay Harrel (top) and Melissa Tagg (bottom)!
We all have different writing journeys, and when I first started writing I was under the delusion whoever was published first was best. It's not true.
God has it worked out. My job is to show up, do the work, and leave it in His hands.
Still wish I could convince this lady, Wendy P. Miller, to come!
This year at ACFW, I plan on looking for God-opportunities that in the past I may have overlooked by being too focused on my own agenda. I will still talk too much. I will still be nervous pitching. And editors will barely glance at my one-sheet (I'm convinced they could care less about these papers!). But I'll pray each day for the good Lord to show me where to go, what to do, who to speak with, and when to rest.
God, Your will be done. Not mine.
Are you going to ACFW this year? Is there anything I can pray about on your behalf?
Have a wonderful day!