Friday, September 3, 2010

Want to Succeed at Conference? Bring these to ACFW 2010!

I'm going to the ACFW Writer's Conference September 17-20. It will be my first time, and I'm so excited I wake up every morning like a little kid waiting for Christmas. I mentally count down the days until I go. I've already started packing, and I'm full of butterflies and eager anticipation.

I've made a checklist so I don't forget anything and thought I'd share part of it with you.
  1. Prayers. I'm loading up on them. Prayers for the people in charge of the conference, the speakers, the attendees, the hotel staff, protection for travelers, for supernatural energy and wisdom for all, and for myself that I won't forget any of the other things on my list (Philippians 4:6).  
  2. Fruits of the Spirit. I figure if I have these along: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5:22-23), they will pretty much cover me for the other stuff I might forget.
  3. Positive Attitude. I refuse to let the devil beat me up with my insecurities. In fact, I think I'll just ignore him the entire time I'm there. (Which is what we're supposed to do all the time, anyway, right?) I have the mind of Christ. What more do I need? (1 Corinthians 2:16.)
  4.  Trust. I can trust God with my writing career. He knows the sacrifices I've made to be at conference, and He will guide my steps and orchestrate the right meetings for me. He loves me more than I love myself. He created me to write. I can completely trust Him to use my gifts for His purpose. It's His purpose that matters. Not mine. He sees the big picture. I can't. I will trust in Him with my whole heart and seek not my own understanding. I will acknowledge Him and He will direct my path(s) at conference (Proverbs 3:5-7). Whew. What a relief!
  5. Hope. I think we all have this packed if we're attending conference. Hope to learn how to be better writers, hope to meet the right people, hope to make new friends, hope that Jesus is coming soon! Wouldn't it be cool if He came at conference? Isn't that what it's all about anyway? (Psalm 39:7.)
  6. Grace. Grace to accept God's answers for me at conference. This might seem a little obvious, but how I handle my disappointments, I believe, matters to God. He is more interested in my character than my success. I also need to be gracious to fellow writers, editors, agents and those who serve at conference. If I put other folks' needs before my own desires, grace will be automatic. I pray I'm gracious even when I'm exhausted. That's why I'm packing extra in this department (Ephesians 4:32).
  7. Teachability Sponginess. Okay, so "teachability" isn't really a word. I made it up to remind myself to be teachable at every moment. It's how I want to be not only at conference but in life. There's no way I know everything. I never will. As someone who loves to learn, this is exciting! I can hardly wait to discover all sorts of new things about writing, whether in classes, or in my critique appointment. But I expect to learn more than just writing. I hope to keep my heart open to learning by watching others, listening to others, and soaking it all in. I just hope I'm porous enough (2 Timothy 2:15).
  8. Faith. Without it, I can't please God. I know I already packed it along with the fruits of the Spirit, but I'm packing extra because without it, I can't believe that God has my best interest at heart. (Hebrews 11.)
  9. Ears open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I don't want to miss anything God has for me. I pray I'm sensitive to that still, small voice that loves to speak to me. Otherwise, He can't lead me where I need to go (John 16:13).
  10. Eyes to see ways I can be a blessing. I want to be sensitive to the needs of others. I pray I can be as much a blessing to people at conference as the ACFW organization has been to me. I want to "pay it forward." I've been given so much - how can I not want to give back? (Luke 6:38.)
  11. Peace. If I pack plenty of number 1 (prayer), I'll have plenty of number 11 (peace). (Philippians 4:6-7.)
  12. Humility. See all the above. And the example of Jesus' humility in Matthew 11:29: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Oh, how much I want to be like Jesus! For "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble" James 4:6).
  13. Love. It fulfills all things. If I keep this at the forefront of everything I do, I'll be okay (Romans 13:8).
  14. Smile. With all the above things packed, I'm sure to have one of these! Besides, since registering for ACFW 2010, I haven't been able to wipe the grin off my face!
Only 14 more days until conference! What do you have packed?


  1. Aw...what a wonderful list! I am so sad I can't be there this year. Last year was my first conference (in Denver) and I can SO relate to your excitement. Definitely ranks as one of the best experiences of my life - and absolutely THE best in my writing life. You'll love it! Looking forward to the after-reports. :-)

  2. Karla, I sure hope I can meet you at the conference (are we IN writers getting together even for a short time? I wish we would). Thanks for this post; it's wonderful, and a great reminder of what our focus should be while at the ACFW. Thanks for the scripture references, too. I'm going to print this out and keep it in my Bible to read every night during the conference in order to keep me focused. Thanks again. It touched my heart.
    Blessings,JoAnn Durgin (P.S. That's not a photo of the INDY Hyatt, is it?)

  3. JoAnn,
    Oops. Thanks for the catch on the pic! I didn't realize I had the wrong one in there. It's corrected now. :-)

    And thanks for your lovely comments. We definitely have to get together for conference! As for printing these scriptures out, I'm going to, too, because I really, really want to keep my focus on what HE wants! If I can remember to keep my focus on pleasing HIM, it won't make me so nervous thinking I need to impress anyone else! :-)

    See you at conference!

  4. Karla, what a wonderful prep list. Hope to give you a hug! Visit my blog when you get a chance and say hi!


  5. Thank you for the excellent packing list, Karla, and wise reminder to keep our focus right. This is my first ACFW conference too and I'm excited to meet people I've only known online (especially my wise and witty roomie!!) and I'm looking forward to learning and connecting, but I could easily forget to focus on blessing others and being blessed by the plans and presence of the Lord. Some of us are so anal that way. :-) Thank you for the packing list - I'm printing it off now. :-)

  6. Aww, that was wonderful, Karla. You just make me more jealous everyday that I don't get to go and meet you. Camille, I'll meet your in OR before you leave. So you can take good wished to Karla for me. You guys are soooo going to be blessed. And enjoy the yummy banquet. Sooo wonderful!

  7. Wah! I'm so disappointed I don't get to go this year, especially with the conference practically in my own back yard! I'll think about you all while I'm in Australia holding my new little grandbaby. Next year there will be another lovely ACFW conference. Next year I'll be seeing little Pippa only on Skype. Yeah, I've made the right choice! I'm happy!

  8. Oh, what a beautiful list! Thank you for posting your link on the loop.

  9. Thanks so much for sharing this! It is a wonderful list!

  10. Thanks for the wonderful list and encouragement for another first-timer like me. I'm coming from further away and I LEAVE in 9 days to get to Indianapolis and settle my mixed up body clock. I especially love your check list item no.7. I plan to be a sponge too! Can't wait and look forward to meeting you Karla!
    Dorothy :)

  11. Packed??? I am still trying to decide what to take. Still trying to polish my wip, Still trying . . . ACK!!