You get your conference program book on registration day and scan the schedule. There’s the continuing classes and workshops . You also have a paid critique appointment and those appointments with editors and agents. And, of course, every night are the Late Night Chats. And what about the worship times. You’ve already made plans with your crit partners for Friday night supper at a Texas Barbecue place you saw promoted on the Food Channel. That night you and your roommate, a woman you’ve only known through e-mail until now, stay up late talking. Lights go out and you can tell by her breathing Ms. Roommate is sound asleep, but you’re too excited to sleep. Soon you’re rehearsing your pitch in your mind. When you finally drift off ,the phone rings with your wake-up call. You struggle out of bed and head for the shower. You’ve arranged to meet your local chapter for breakfast and you can’t let them down.
By the second day you’re fading. At lunch you sit next to the editor who was your second choice for an appointment and find your brain is jumbled after that intense appointment over your paid crit . When Ms. Editor asks you about your work in progress, you experience the worst brain freeze in the history of mankind. You fight sleep through the first afternoon workshop and decide to take a nap. In the hotel room, you just drift off when your roommate comes in the room and dances around. She’s just been asked to submit a full manuscript. You’re thrilled for her and the excitement gives you a boost of adrenaline. By the time she gives a blow by blow report of her appointment, it’s time to meet another conference attendee you just met in the continuing class. You drag yourself down the hall to the elevator. You’ll sleep when you get home.
Boy, it’s so easy to get caught up in wanting to do everything there is to do and not pacing yourself. The ACFW conference planners have packed our conference full to the brim with opportunities and experiences that could easily stretch out for two more days had we the time or money. When I first started attending conferences I thought I had to do everything. Wanted to for fear I’d miss out on something I’d never recoup again. And I about killed myself in the process.
We’re always told to pay attention to pacing in our stories and the same holds true for conferences. You don’t need to do everything. Decide ahead of time what events you absolutely must attend and which ones are expendable. Maybe during one of the workshop times none of the classes really interested you, but you signed up for one anyway. Time for the workshop arrives and you’re beat. You can skip it and go to your room to rest, or just relax in the hotel lobby with a mocha from the Starbuck’s counter in the store. Remember that CDs of the teaching can always be purchased later. Pacing yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself. Last year I took a break and went to the Prayer Room. My Quiet Times suffer during conference and I needed that time with God more than I needed to sit in a workshop. I went to lunch later totally revived.
You’ll go home in a much better frame of mind if you pace yourself. I can’t promise you’ll be less tired though. LOL. That goes with the territory!