Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Conference Survival Tips

One year I waited until the last minute to gather all I needed for a writers' conference. This resulted in a less than stellar and somewhat nerve-wracking experience. So rather than focus on the externals of conference preparation, I thought a post on how I'm getting ready spiritually, mentally, and emotionally might encourage you.

This year:

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.

4 comments:

Annie said...

A good plan to ask the Lord to prepare you path. Thanks for the tips. I hope to attend a writers conference one day soon :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Annie -

Yes, I've found when I put prayer not only into my writing but all areas of my life, things run a lot smoother.

There are many conferences out west. My first writers' conference was a small regional event. Perhaps there's something in your area.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Michelle Sutton said...

Are you going to the ACFW conference in Sept in Minneapolis?

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Michelle -

Welcome to my blog!

Unfortunately, I don't have any vacation time or the finances to make the trip. However, I am attending The Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference in August. I was able to get the two days off by working extra to make up the time.

I'm not yet a member of ACFW, which I hope to remedy shortly. Meanwhile, I belong to My Book Therapy and The Writers View 2.

I hope you'll visit again.

Blessings,
Susan :)