Monday, May 10, 2010

Getting the Most Out of the Conference

If you’re planning to attend Kentucky Christian Writers Conference next month, no doubt you have some expectations about what you’ll accomplish there. Maybe you want to learn, to take your writing skills to the next level. Maybe you want to hang out with other writers who love the Lord and also want to serve Him with their writing. You might be discouraged and looking for fresh motivation. Or perhaps you want to rub elbows with editors and professional writers to pick up some tips that will help you accomplish your writing goals. Maybe you’re just going for the food. (Hey, I’ve been to KCWC – the food is always good!) Whatever your reason for attending KCWC, I’d like to share a little advice about getting the most out of the conference.

Preparation is important, of course. Bring a pen and a notepad for taking notes. If you have business cards, conferences are a great place to trade them so you can stay in touch with the new friends you’ll meet there. If you’re hoping to meet with a member of the faculty to get feedback on your work, you’ll want to bring a manuscript or samples of your writing. There will be a bookshop at the conference, so you might want a little money. Clothes are important (well, they are!), so you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortably dressed. Of course the most important thing you can do is pray. Ask the Lord to prepare you to receive from Him.

And when you’ve done all that – forget about yourself. That’s right. Before you walk through the doors, ask the Lord to let you bless someone else during the conference. Then look for ways to let Him do just that. Do you see someone sitting alone? Join them and introduce yourself. At mealtimes, encourage others to tell you about their writing, and make sure no one feels left out of your conversations. Does someone mention that they’re depressed because their writing isn’t progressing as quickly as they hoped? Ask if you can pray with them. By focusing on others, you will create opportunities for the Lord to give one of those double-sided blessings that encourages you both. As St. Francis prayed:

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I can’t wait to see you in Elizabethtown!

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