Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Its Raining on Prom Night...Tea and Sympathy for the Disappointed Writer


Last year I was disappointed to miss conference and wrote about it here.

I talked to one Alley-Mate on the phone and told her this year would not be my year either. Texas was just too far away.

Well, God has surprises in store and I am sharing this to show you that just because this year isn't your year...who knows...

I have never traveled on my own before. When I realized the hotel was right at the airport and I wouldn't have to worry about transportation my sweet hubby and I talked. In spite of the challenges, we decided this would be my year. I was sure I wasn't attending and ended up signing up the first week the conference opened. 

As I'm dealing with the last minute details of conference, I leave you with this post from last year and the fact that next year, next week, always comes with fresh new possibilities.

I haven't traveled on a plane since 9/11 and I'm desperately shy so if you see me know that attending ACFW is part of my walk of faith this year. 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Whatever the Lord has in store for you this week you can be sure its the very best. 

If I were your next door neighbor, I'd bring over a box of See's truffles and a box of tissue.  Call this your virtual box of truffles.
Conference season is upon us.  We've had a great week of posts on the conference which I plan to save for future reference.  But I know some of you are reading all these "getting ready for conference" posts on our blogs and others and well, let's get real here, maybe feeling a little green in the gills.

Here are my top tips for the "missing conference blues":

1.  Spend some extra time in the Word.  God knows our disappointments in our writing life and in other parts of our life.  Some recent verses in my life for fighting discouragement:

Romans 8:28-30 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brother. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Psalm 9:9-10 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 63:5-8 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadows of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

2.  Write your thousand gifts and thank God for them.  Why not take some time to reflect on the things God has done in your writing life (and in the rest of your life) in the past year.  I know usually I'm more apt to grumble when I'm not being so conscious about being thankful.

3. Put it in perspective.  As Chip said, many writers have disappointed expectations regarding conference.  I think many of us also lack perspective about not attending conference.  Conference is built up and sometimes we forget that God can make a way for us to make connections without attending the conference.  Granted many important connections are made at conference, but some are not.

4.  Have a mini-conference at home.  Last year I found the ACFW conference CDs to be a very worthwhile investment because I was able to listen to ALL the conference.  If you can't afford the package, there are places where you can purchase single CDs or MP3 recordings.  For the price of a mass market paperback you could download MP3 recordings at Best Christian Conferences.  Sit down with a notebook and study a writing topic of interest.

5.  See if you can fit in a little extra time to write.  Sometime during that week, try to find a larger chunk of writing time to remind yourself that its really all about love for the craft.  Maybe see if you can head to Starbucks for a few hours early on a Saturday morning.

6.  Look at the big picture.  God has a plan for your life. He has a plan for your writing.  He wants to use it to glorify Him.  How can you do that right where you are?

7.  Plan for the Season. Only God knows the plans He has in store for us.  Finances, health, children, jobs, homeschooling...whatever the reason you are not able to make it to conference...God knows and He sympathizes even in the small disappointments of life. Through the blogosphere I've connected with writers who have been through difficult seasons in their writing life.  One writer spent 5 years on her first book while she was homeschooling her sons.  As more seasoned writers share their experiences we can find encouragement.

Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Jesus Christ as Lord, continue to live in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught-and overflowing with thankfulness.

I leave you with a quote by Jon Acuff that inspired me: "Never compare your beginning to someone else's middle."

Go forth!

 Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also currently reviews for The Title Trakk and Christian Library Journal. 


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Julia, that was a beautiful post! You and I will have to "hang out" in cyberspace that weekend! :)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Most definitely, Sherrinda. We'll have an online "chocolate party" along with Krista and Cindy. :)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Julia, so appreciated your post. I don't get to go to conference either this year. You gave some great ideas for making that weekend count! I love how you started out with God's word. I also love your idea of getting to Starbuck's early on a Saturday to write for a few hours. Don't know if I'll get to do it, but I love the idea. :)
Thanks also for the link to the site to get some great teachings.
I hope your God uses your weekend for His glory and gives you great time for writing!

Julia M. Reffner said...


I hope you're able to find some extra time in God's word AND some extra writing time that weekend.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Keli Gwyn said...

Those of you who aren't able to attend the ACFW conference this year will be missed. What's cool, though, is that you can catch lots of the news via Twitter, Facebook, and the many blog posts that will recount the wonderful workshops. I know it's not the same as being there, but it can help you feel more connected.

Sarah Forgrave said...

What an encouraging post, Julia! I'm sure there will be years in the future when I can't attend conference, and I'll return to the truths in this post.

Casey said...

Really good tips, Julia. I'm going to miss the chance to meet you! ((hugs))

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Oooh, I'm all for an online chocolate party :) Thank you for this post, Julia. I'm sad that I am going to miss the conference this year, especially after having gone last year. It's even harder when you know what you're missing. But you're so right to remind us we need to see all the blessings we have regardless and I am looking for all the positives in hanging back from this adventure this year because I know great things are on the way.

Julia M. Reffner said...

KELI,Thanks for reminding us, you're so right, people are so kind to keep those of us at home updated...and I look forward to reading all about it while I wait for the CDs to come out.

SARAH, I hope it was an encouragement to someone. And I hope you have a great conference...and are able to enjoy the food.

CASEY, Someday, my friend that hug will happen I have a feeling :)

CINDY, I'm sure it must be harder after having been there and made face to face connections. I'll be thinking of and praying for you. Enjoy that baby of yours and eat some chocolate with us.

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

Saw your comment over at Jeanette's and had to take a moment to visit.

Enjoyed the browse... I'll be back!

Pepper said...

I particularly liked #7!
I think that one spans ANY disappointment at ANY time.

You've certainy posted something here to touch a lot of people - and bringing chocolate is always a brilliant idea.

Julia M. Reffner said...

BRENDA, Thanks so much for stopping by...I hope you were encouraged.

PEPPER, Thanks. Yes, #7 is where I'm at right now. Its my hope it will encourage.

Beth K. Vogt said...

Excellent post, Julia! So encouraging to any writer who just can't make it to ACFW this year . . .Posting it on my FB page!

Julia M. Reffner said...

BETH, thanks so much. Hope it will encourage someone.

Angie Dicken said...

Sorry I am late at this, but I just wanted to say this was such a wonderful post for any time we are feeling down. Lately, I have had the litttle devil on my shoulder saying I am not good enough...your scriptures and last quote are so timely for me. Thanks Julia!