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Four Little Words to Help You Prep for the ACFW Conference

By Beth K. Vogt

For those of your prepping for the upcoming conference, here are four words to guide you, and yes, I used the acronym A.C.F.W. Even if you’re not attending the conference, these four words apply to every writer’s journey:

ADJUST your expectations. We pack a lot of things to bring to the annual ACFW conference, but one thing can tip us over our emotional weight limit: our expectations. By the end of the conference, some of you will think, “This was the best time of my life!” You’ll feel like a winner because of the connections you made and the feedback you received. And some of you will be actual winners, coming home with awards. But some of you will leave the conference disappointed. Maybe your appointments didn’t go as well as you’d hoped. Or you didn’t win an award. It’s okay to have expectations – to hope and dream for the best conference ever! But hold those expectations loosely. Adjust them when things don’t go according to your plans. It’s a conference, friends, not a judgment on your self-worth.

COMPARE yourself … to no one. This is your writing journey. This is your conference. Don’t compare yourself to other attendees’ successes – or their failures, either. And yes, there is always the temptation to think: I’m not doing as well as she is, but at least my appointment went better than his! Make it your goal to leave the conference better informed than you came. Go home better connected, with some new friends. At the end of the conference, be closer to God and more in-tune with his plans for you as a writer.

FOCUS on someone else. You’re not the only person attending the ACFW conference – no surprise, right? Look up from your notebook or your plate of food and notice all the other people around you. Maybe there’s someone God would have you encourage. Maybe this is your fourth conference and you could befriend a first-time conferee. Or maybe this is your first time at the ACFW conference. Don’t let that stop you from making new friends. If you came with a group of friends, don’t just stick with them. Widen your circle and be willing to invite someone new into your group. There’s always room for one more, right?

WAIT on God. Of course I’m going to mention God in this post, right? This is a conference for believers. But I’m not just saying, “Wait on God” because it’s the “right” thing to say. Learning how to wait on God – his timing, his direction, his voice – is crucial as we pursue our writing careers. If you have some downtime, which can be scarce during the convention unless you’re intentional about it, utilize the prayer room. Go there, anticipating to hear from God. See what he has to say to you in the stillness and the silence. Beth-Vogt-Favorites-0013

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A 2016 Christy Award winner and three-time Carol Award finalist, Beth’s destination wedding series continues with an e-novella, You Can’t Hurry Love (May 2016) and a novel, Almost Like Being in Love (June 2016). Visit Beth at bethvogt.com.

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6 Responses to Four Little Words to Help You Prep for the ACFW Conference

  1. Such profound words, Beth! Oh, how I wish I’d read this before my first few conferences (and yes, I was attending as a published author and faculty member, but as you know, that doesn’t make us immune to having the same insecurities and disappointments as a first-time attendee.)

    Thank you for sharing. Even in this, my 15th year at ACFW, I’m praying God will help me take your advice to heart!

  2. Patricia S says:

    Perfect words for those coming to the conference. If I can add one more thing: Don’t try to make things happen. Let God direct your path.

  3. Beth K. Vogt says:

    Hi, Deb! Looking forward to seeing you at the conference — and yes, everyone deals with insecurities and disappointments. Some just hide them better than others.

    Pat: See you soon — and the truth of God directing our paths is so, so important during a conference and day-to-day.

  4. I love this, Beth. So much truth. I wish I was at the conference this year, but I’m planning to be there next year. And last year, there were a ton of precious folks heeding your advice, because I left there feeling so loved. I love this writing world.

  5. Daphne Woodall says:

    Wise words Beth. The scripture for my protagonist has been Prov.3:5-6. And it is very appropriate for myself during this conference. God knows that I need to strengthen the muscles of ‘trust and submit’.

  6. Beth K. Vogt says:

    Shelli: Missing you!
    Daphne: Yes, submitting and trusting go hand and hand!