Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jumpstart Your Conference Experience

Several days ago, I wrote a post for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer's Conference Blog. What I didn't mention on that entry is the Blue Ridge Conference will be my second one--in a row. There are a number of us at the Blue Ridge Conference who are traveling from Denver, where we will be attending the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in Estes, Park. I leave on Wednesday for Colorado. Without returning home, we go straight to the Blue Ridge conference. It will make blogging difficult (if not impossible) because time will be spent in other places.

Here's what I wrote about how to Jumpstart Your Conference Experience:

In a few days, I’m traveling to Asheville and the glorious Ridgecrest Conference center. I love the crisp clean air of the North Carolina Mountains and look forward to it. I’ve been preparing to teach my continuing workshop, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. I’ve been sorting through my 20+ years in publishing and preparing which stories to tell during my classes.

I love writers’ conferences. It’s a grand idea haven to talk shop and learn from other writers. If you want to succeed in the writing business, I’ve got four keys to Jumpstart your Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference experience:

1. Take daily time to pray about the various people you will meet and the ideas you will discuss. Ask the Lord to guide you through each detail of the conference such as who you will sit with at the opening meeting or where you will sit at each meal and what will be discussed. Ask for God to give you divine appointments. These encounters will be far beyond anything that you could have orchestrated or planned. Be looking for the Lord’s handiwork at the conference.

Some people call those divine appointments or “a pack your bags experience.” That means if you had to leave the conference early for some reason, then you would have had such a great experience with the greatest personal benefit. Through prayer you will come to the conference full of expectation and a spiritual sensitivity that God will work while you are on the conference grounds.

2. The second way to Jumpstart Your Conference Experience is to come prepared to meet others and start new relationships. Prepare some business cards and be prepared to give them out to everyone you meet—but don’t make it a one way exchange. When you give a business card, make sure you receive a business card. Writing is a solitary occupation and we need each other. You will form new and lasting friendships at the conference if you come prepared for it.

3. The third way to Jumpstart Your Conference Experience is to study the background for the various faculty members and get familiar with their different roles. Publishing is constantly changing. I’m in a different role as a publisher than my last time I came to Blue Ridge as a literary agent or when I’ve been as an acquisitions editor. Your familiarity with the different faculty will help you form deeper relationships during the conference. I believe your time in preparation will be rewarded.

4. The final way to Jumpstart Your Conference Experience is to come with the right heart attitude. Many writers come to their first conference expecting to sell their book manuscript or magazine article. Yes, there will be some of those exchanges at the conference. A much more central part of every writer’s conference is where individuals learn new aspects of publishing and take great strides of personal growth. Come with expectations and a willingness to learn and grow. With the right heart attitude, I’m convinced that you will not be disappointed but your expectations will actually be exceeded.

How can I say that expectations will be exceeded? Because I know each member of the faculty is a Christian and a person who is filled with the Spirit of the Living God. I love the verse in Ephesians 3:20 which says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

Today God is preparing for you the people and lives that will be touched during the time we are together in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I will be coming with high expectations and anticipations. I’ve not ever been disappointed in the past.

See you soon in the mountains!

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2 Comment:

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Krista Phillips Left a note...

Darn, I originally planned on going to blue ridge (I'm in Nashville so it would have been close) but things worked out so it didn't work with my schedule :-( Bummed that I don't get to meet you though!

BUT, I get to go to ACFW again this year, so I'm thrilled about that. I LOVE going to conferences. I'm surrounded by people who "get" my wierd brain for a few days. It's so nice!

I will absolutely take your advice to heart! Praying is sure the number one thing we need to remember!

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Sue Tornai Left a note...

Thank you, Terry. It's nearly a year since you wrote this but the information is valuable as I plan this year to go to Mt. Hermon the first time. I've been to Writing for the Soul, but Mt. Hermon is close to home. Thank you for the sound advice!


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