I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, September 14, 2012

Battling Conference Discouragement

Photo Source
Lisa Jordan: I have a confession to make...it's 8:55 PM on Thursday evening, and I just realized it was my turn to blog. My mind has been in other places, namely Dallas, TX, where the 2012 ACFW conference will take place.

700 writers in the same hotel. Being surrounded by others who "get" the voices in your head--paradise! Not to mention I will get to hug and hang out with some of my most favorite people.

This year will mark my 7th ACFW conference. So I'm definitely not a newbie, but I have made my fair share of mistakes, namely putting unnecessary pressure on myself. Too many times writers arrive at a conference with their baggage and expectations and leave with dirty laundry and discouragement.

If you're planning to attend ACFW next week, keep reading for some tips to help you battle that discouragement. If you're not attending, but may attend in the future, still read anyway.


  • You are not alone. You. Are. Not. Alone. Whether it's your first conference or seventh, it's easy to feel alone in a sea of people, especially if you hear buzz words like contract, representation, finalist. If you're feeling like those are foreign words in your career, come to the My Book Therapy table. We will encourage you, hug you, pray with you--whatever it takes to help you embrace this portion of your writing journey with a smile.
  • Editors and Agents are Human. Yes, it's true. They may appear to be superhuman, but they need to eat and sleep like you and me. They become exhausted from listening to pitches, having to be "on" and participating in workshops. But, you know what? They enjoy meeting writers, especially hearing writers' stories. So when you sit down to pitch, take a deep breath and remember, they are human just like you. Dazzle them with your great pitch and let God do the rest. 
  • Harness Your Expectations. It's great to attend a conference with goals, but ensure they're reasonable goals. Arrive at the conference with no expectations, so you're surprised and blessed when God reveals himself in mighty ways. Having unrealistic expectations leads to disappointment. You will not sell your book at the conference. You will not sign with an agent at the conference. If you don't get the appointment you wanted, there are other reasonable ways of meeting a favored editor or agent. Also, be open to God's leading and unexpected open doors. Maybe there's a reason you didn't get scheduled with that editor or agent.
  • Be a Blessing. I'm guest blogging at Michelle Lim's Thoughts on Plot blog today, and I'm talking about how to Be a Blessing. No matter if this is your first conference or not, you can be a blessing to someone else. Think of others before yourself. Be Jesus in the skin. Model His grace. Let His light shine through you. Be quick to smile. Offer to pray with someone who may need to hear a kind word. Honor God with your words and actions. 
Be sure to check out My Book Therapy's The Truth About Conferences. You will find wonderful tips to help you to have a successful writers conference. Written by the MBT Staff, this book covers everything to budgeting for a conference to what to do after the conference. 

Your Turn: If you've attended a conference in the past, what words of wisdom do you have to offer?

Lisa Jordan
www.lisajordanbooks.com

15 comments:

  1. Thank you, Lisa! I'll be attending for the first time and I can honestly say I have very few expectations other than to soak up as much as I can, meet, in person, some of my new favorite people and learn from the best of the best. I'm excited to see what God has planned!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gabrielle, I'm excited to meet you in person. Be sure to visit the My Book Therapy table!

      Delete
  2. I think Gabrielle has a great plan! I think I'll adopt it. God always has better plans than I do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat, no matter how we try to micromanage, God's plans are sovereign.

      Delete
  3. Lisa,
    This is only my second time to attend, but my favorite moments from last year? Praying and being an encouragement to others.

    Blessings!
    Alena T.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alena, you are such an encouragement all the time. I'm looking so forward to seeing you.

      Delete
  4. Lisa, thanks for your thoughts. I'm with Gabrielle. I am going to seek God's plans in Dallas. I've already begun praying to keep His perspective. I'm sooo looking forward to meeting people and to reconnecting with people I don't get to see much. Including you! :) See you all next week. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeanne, I hope your first ACFW experience is amazing. I'm excited to see you!

      Delete
  5. Great post, Lisa! Your point about expectations is so good...I think it's great to have hopes and dream big, while also packing a dose of reality and calmness!

    My words of wisdom: stay hydrated--physically, but especially spiritually. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melissa, I love your thoughts about staying hydrated, both physically and spiritually.

      Delete
  6. Besides everything else happening at conf., I view it as a family reunion, that's the extra whip cream and cherry on top. Thanks, Lisa. Can't wait!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dee, you're so right about the family reunion. So excited to see my Ponderers!

      Delete
  7. Awesome advice here! Be sure to take the opportunity to make new friends! One of the best things about the My Book Therapy retreats was meeting my wonderful Pondering friends!

    ReplyDelete
  8. All of your tips are awesome advice--especially the last one. If your intent is to bless others, it's such a win-win situation and you'll find yourself blessed immeasurably too. Thanks, Lisa!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lisa, thanks for these reminders. I am going with the barest of expectations but one. I want to hear God. Love your advice and so true.

    ReplyDelete