It’s writers’ conference time!
I try to go to a conference for writers at least every other year. These professional conferences provide a mixture of continuing education, networking, and appointments with editors, agents, mentors and professional writers who will critique a manuscript for a fee.
Next week, I’m headed to Dallas for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference. I blush to say this but I’m looking forward most to the people. I get to meet my agent, Linda Glaz, face-to-face for the first time, I’m rooming with Kate Breslin, author of “For Such A Time” and “Not By Sight,” and I get to see Rebecca Waters, author of “Breathing On Her Own” and Karla Akins, author of “The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots.” Friday night, I attend a dinner with my agent’s other clients. It’s a great evening to kick back, be ourselves, and hone new friendships. I just love this group of writers. They are witty, caring, and gracious people, and they love words as much if not more than I do.
Each conference, my hopes rise for that long awaited connection with an editor who will say “YES!” to my book proposal. While that is my hope and dream, and frankly, one of my main purposes in going, I often come home so very blessed by the divine opportunities God gives me. The stories of how the Lord helps me visually navigate the crowded halls of a conference center. The precious moment of praise as I and strangers magnify the Lord together while standing in a lunch line. The business cards that stuff a pocket of my purse, each representing an ongoing friendship with people who share the same passion and dreams. Every time I prepare for a conference, I think, “Okay Lord, what – and who – do You have waiting for me this time?” At the very least, I hope some of my encounters of the divine kind are the stuff of future Grace on Parade blogs. I’ll be searching for the aroma of God’s grace so I can share the scent with you.
This year, I’m looking forward to the workshops, particularly the ones on historical research and “Taming the Social Media Beast,” two of my weak points. I’m also attending two workshops about writing from the depths of my relationship with Christ. I am so ready for that – ready for some spiritual nurturing related to the gift of writing God has given me. This conference emails participants the outlines before the conference, so from looking at the outlines, I think I’m going to be blessed!
Between preparations for at least two appointments with editors where I’ll share my vision for my most recently completed novel and getting stuff done for my Ladies’ Bible Study, my worship service rotation and our Women’s Fellowship that all happen the week after I return, I’ve been busier than a mom with three preschoolers. Okay, I exaggerate. If this gives you an idea, however, my to-do list has often filled the front side of a notebook page.
Little by little, it’s all getting done and my excitement is growing. If I seem a little dazed over the next week on Facebook or in person, it’s because I’m in another world as I practice how I’ll describe my novel to potential publishing houses, what writers call “The Pitch.” If you do see me in person, I give you full permission to make me practice and ask me, “So Karen, what’s your novel about?” Uh, gulp!