1. I'm giving myself the gift of time. No, of course I can't add days to my life. However, I can prioritize so I'm not tearing my hair out at the last minute. When I've had adequate preparation time in the past, my confidence level soared, and I felt better physically. No conference-cramming for me this year.
2. I'm paying attention to the details. Learning from past bumps and bruises, as well as other people's experience, saves a lot of grief.
Watching countless ice-skating competitions has driven home one simple fact. A fraction of a point can spell the difference between success or coming in second. After getting the basics down, the skaters perfect their artistry and work on the finer points of their performances. As a writer, I need to get the big-picture stuff to the place where it's automatic and then work on those special touches that make my writing unique.
3. I'm praying and asking others to pray for me. This sounds like a given, but it's easy for me to get wrapped up in the mechanics and forget the obvious.
The best stress buster of all involves sitting at the Master's feet. Jesus said to ask and we'd receive that our joy may be full. James urged us to ask God for wisdom if we were lacking in that area, and He would give it liberally. Not long ago, I was obsessing about a knotty situation. It finally dawned on me that I hadn't brought my concerns to the Lord and asked for His wisdom. The moment I asked, a Scripture surfaced in my memory, giving me the direction I needed. I could have saved myself a lot of turmoil if I'd asked sooner.
So, a major part of my conference preparation is prayer. I'm asking for wisdom, direction, and God's favor. I've also requested friends and family to agree with me in prayer.
Father, I ask You to give each writer attending a conference a new perspective. May they walk with you each step of the way, depending on Your loving care and grace. May they experience Your peace through every moment of the day and receive all You have in store for them. In Jesus' name, amen.