Thursday, April 2, 2009

Conference Preparedness

Manuscript(s) sample chapters, tag line(s), 30-second elevator pitch(es), one-sheet(s), business cards, business casual dress, toiletries...

Okay, what am I missing?

Oh, yeah, now I remember, CONFIDENCE!!

Argh. Everywhere I turn these days (in the writing arena of life, I mean) I see how very little confidence I have. That's not good to take with you to writer's conferences. I know. Because in the past three years I've gone to three writer's conferences and believe me, there are plenty of confident writer's out there quite willing to monopolize ALL of the agent's and editor's time.

There's the mad dash to find the tables with the industry leader's name carded in that fancy script font, and then when the sign-up sheet is posted for fifteen-minute interval "appointments" with the oh-so-sought-after industry representatives, the limbs fly, necks crane, pens scratch, and when you finally come up for air, you discover you lost a shoe in the process. No, seriously, it can be like this. I know, because I watch from a comfortable distance.

Not exactly taking advantage of all that conferences have to offer, am I?

As I worked on this post, I looked up confidence in my concordance and couldn't resist sharing this quote after my above shoe comment. "For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken." Proverbs 3:26 (Bolding, my doing.)

I'm in awe once more, there is even direction in the Bible for crowd control. God does have a sense of humor, I'm convinced, because His word spurred a giggle in me just now. What perfect timing He has.

There is another verse that I found, though, that is very insightful.

"So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Hebrews 13:6

Doesn't this just say it all? If we are working to glorify Him, if we believe He is our helper/provider in this writing journey, then what should we fear of man's (agent or editor--yet another sinner like ourselves) reaction?

The worse they can say is that our writing stinks, and I highly doubt they'd be that insensitive to use those exact words. So, in the worse case scenario we get a huge dose of humbling, and learn that we need to study more and continue to work on our craft.

aka: Confirmation of what I'm already feeling.

Ironically, I'm feeling more confident already. Are you?

So, what do you do to prepare yourself for Writer's Conferences? Both internally and externally?
I have my first one of the year coming up in June, and would appreciate any guidance.

Surrendering to Him,



Jessica said...

I've only been to one and I was still too much of a newbie to be quaking overly much. LOL You'll do great Eileen. I did see some of those monopolizers and I don't think they were confident. More like rude.
Honestly, it's the writing and the kindness that counts. If you treat everyone you meet nicely and with respect, people will warm up to you. It's nerve-wracking, no doubt, but you're such a nice person and I really think you'll do well. Try to enjoy yourself too. :-) Which conference are you going to?

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jessica! Much appreciated.

I will be attending my third Write! Canada conference. It's actually the largest Christian Canadian writer's conference with about 250 in attendance. The Christian conferences are much more tame, giving, sharing than the RWA one that I attended a couple years back where the shoving and monopolozing took place.

I'm really hoping God gives me the go-ahead to attend the ACFW conference in Sept. I had the hotel booked for last years in anticaption but family issues came up and the door was closed. I'm praying for guidance for this years. Are you planning to attend in Sept.?

Jessica said...

I'm seriously considering it!
The only conference I went to was Christian, so I didn't see any of the shoving or stuff. Just lots of talkers. LOL

Jody Hedlund said...

I know I'll need a lot of confidence when I finally go to a writer's conference. I will hate the mad dash to sign up for appointments with agents too--that sounds horrible! But after spending the money to go to a conference, I'll be determined to get those appointments!

I'm also praying that God will make it clear whether I should spend the money to go to ACFW.

Deanna Price said...

I'm just starting out so I've never been to a conference but good luck in June

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Jody, you're ready for them, I can tell. May you shine when you do attend one. I'll pray for the decision to be made clear to you.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Deanna, Welcome!

Thanks for good luck wish. It's never too early to start attending writer's conferences. Most gear their classes for all levels of writers. I'd look for something local though first, otherwise it's a huge expense if you're not ready to shop your stories to agents and editors, too. If it's local, the classes and networking with other writers is generally worth the cost. At least it feels that way to me.

Melissa Marsh said...

I have actually never been to a really big writing conference before, but I can imagine I would feel just like you - not very confident at all!

But it's amazing what a few verses out of the Bible and prayer can do for our souls. :-) God always knows what we need!

Terri Tiffany said...

How exciting for you to be going! I've only been to two and the first I felt extremely uncomfortable-- for about an hour--then I made so many new friends it was so nice!

T. Anne said...

I pray the Lord will give you strength! I went last year and He did me. trust me it was quit the miracle. Remember to have fun!

Georgiana said...

That's what I LOVE about the ACFW conference. First off, I never saw someone being blatantly rude, although I'm sure it's happened. Secondly, by signing up with the agents and editors before the conference, you eliminate much of the elbow flying and pen scratching ;) Hope to meet you there this year!