by Melissa Tagg
I got stuck in a dress the other day.
I mean reeeally stuck. Arms over my head, uncooperative fabric playing boa constrictor with my torso while my sister laughed at me inside the department store dressing room.
And to be honest, I halfway blame my near death on ACFW.
Yep, that’s right. See, when my unfortunate incident occurred, I was shopping for the perfect dress for the awards gala at the upcoming ACFW Conference. If I didn’t need a dress for the gala, I wouldn’t have squeezed into a too-small gown…my sister wouldn’t have had to free me…and that Younkers employee wouldn’t have glared at me like I attacked the dress instead of it, well, me.
Suffice to say, I did not buy the dress.
But the incident got me thinking: With the big conference right around the corner, my-our-choice of attire actually goes beyond our wardrobe, yeah? We’ve got decisions to make about what we do and don’t “wear” at conference-time.
• Anxiety. A case of nerves is normal at any conference, but anxiety is worry on steroids-and honestly, it’s avoidable.
• Ego. Confidence is one thing, but overactive egos are best left at the door.
• Jealousy. Even typing that word makes me feel icky, but it’s way too easy to fall into during conferences when, perhaps, it seems others are enjoying the spotlight.
• Fear. The worst of them all.
These don’ts and others are just like that dress-they squeeze and steal your breath, threatening to ruin what could and should be an incredible conference experience.
The best combat technique? Filling our “mental” wardrobes with the must-wears:
• Eager expectancy. In other words, hope! No matter what happens with pitch appointments and award results, good things always happen at the ACFW Conference. We meet new friends, make sweet connections, learn in classes. Heck, we eat like kings. Walk in expecting good stuff and that’s exactly what you’ll walk away with.
• Teachable spirit. This is so huge. At the conference, we’re surrounded by wise and experienced industry experts. If ever there’s a time to don a little humility, it’s now.
• Awareness. I want to walk into this year’s conference more aware than ever before that it’s not all about me. There are hundreds of other writers-all with stories churning inside and personal lives full of highs and lows. I want to see the people around me and do what I can to invest in and encourage them, the way so many have in me.
• Trust. Everything comes back to trust, doesn’t it? Trust that God has our back. Trust that He’s got a plan. Trust that we’re at ACFW for a reason.
And trust that when we’ve prayerfully and properly outfitted our thoughts, we’re in for an awesome conference experience.
What are you planning to wear to this year’s ACFW Conference?
Melissa Tagg is a former reporter turned contemporary romance writer. She serves on the development team for large nonprofit and as the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy. She’s a past Genesis finalist and winner of the MBT Frasier Award. Represented by Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary, Inc, she loves connecting on Facebook and Twitter (@Melissa_Tagg).