Monday, August 16, 2010

Anxiety and the ACFW Conference

Anxiety is building. I’m going to the ACFW Conference next month. Carl’s going with me to hold my hand, so that will help. Lots to stress over. For one, we’ll be flying and I have to figure out how to pack. I haven’t flown in a long time and I know lots of things have changed. Also I have an eighty-seven-year-old mother I help take care of, so I do have a concern about the plane crashing.

And there’s lots of scary things lurking at the conference—things called editors and agents. Even published writers scare me. Even unpublished writers. And there’s lots of things I have to remember—one sheets, business cards, elevator pitches, how to speak a coherent sentence.

And while working on my one-sheet, I discovered I wasn’t finished with my book. Now I have even more pressure because I wanted to be completely finished with the book before I went to the conference.
And I’m an “older” first-time attendee. Surely, most first-timers will be much younger than me.

Stressed-out? Kind of. But someone said something and it made me stop and think. She said, “Use this as an opportunity to bless others.” I’ve been making this all about me, me, me and it needs to be all about God.
What is the motivation for my writing? I truly think, because God is a creative God and he created us in his image, that drive to create is inherent in all of us. I know some say they’re not creative. Not true. Almost everyone creates every single day. If you dress your child in certain clothes, you are creating! If you change up a recipe because you love cayenne pepper, you’re creating! If you wear makeup, you’re creating! If you style your hair, you’re creating! If you were not creative, you would wear the clothes someone else chose for you, you would cook and eat the same food every day, etc., etc. Some people choose not to use their creativity (hiding their “talents” in the ground!), but that does not mean they’re not creative.

Okay, so let’s see. God gave me this drive to create. Therefore, I should do his will and create. It’s not about me—it’s to please him. He will give me the strength to use my creativity in the way he wants me to. I have to do the footwork. (Or should I say the gluteus maximus work—behind in chair and write!) If I do, he will bless me. And God put us here to serve others. I should approach my writing by bowing to his will. This means to use my writing in such a way that it will help others.

In the case of going to the conference, I can be friendly and supportive to others—even to the scary agents and editors. I can prepare myself to the best of my ability. But if I fall on my face, if I drip food all over my clothes, if my slippery, Teflon-coated sieve of a brain spews out the wrong words—that will be okay. Perhaps that will mean my work is not quite ready. Nothing to stress over because God will be in control.

As he always is!


  1. good post. Yes, it's stressful. We need to keep our focus on God, always! Bless you!

  2. I never thought about God giving everyone creative ability. Good point! I'll try to remember your advice as I travel to my first conference this year.

  3. Thanks for the comments! I'm going to try to remember my own advice--if I can.

  4. Love your entry and its pic. My first ACFW conference too, and I hadn't noticed anxiety until the email loop started. So many questions! And so many answers, good ones, too. It's overwhelming, though, just the amount of comments about fragrance. Sometimes for me, it's the format (info overload) that cause me feel anxious, not the preparation itself. Hope you are marvelously blessed on your road to authorship.

  5. You have captured how I feel. I too am an "older" first-time attendee. Sometimes I feel bold, and I'm willing to take a risk. Then I retreat into my shell, afraid I've overstepped my bounds. I enjoyed reading your blog (and needed it).

  6. I bet most of those attending the conference, not just first timers, share many of the same insecurities. We're mostly introverts, we writers. I certainly am. The advice someone gave you is so key though. Be looking out for opportunities to bless others and put them at ease, help them fit in or feel comfortable, and you'll probably get blessed in the process. And take deep breaths. Even as I wrote this comment a thought about something that makes me nervous concerning the upcoming conference crossed my mind, and I reminded myself to breathe. :) And pray.

  7. Thanks for saying it so well, Sheila. I feel so much the same. I'm hoping that as I prepare and work through the information overload, I'll get less nervous and more ready to be a blessing to others. See you there!

  8. What a great post! :-) I am looking forward to meeting you at conference.

    God is the Great Creator, and since we are made in His image, it's only natural that we are creative, too!

    It was fun peeking inside your process of getting ready for ACFW Conference. See you there!

  9. Thanks for the comments, Karla, Stephanie, Michael, Lori, Teresa and Kathy! I guess many of us are in the same boat :) Hope to meet everyone at the conference!

  10. Sheila,

    I love the look of your blog. It's breath-taking! And about your post, I'm w/Michael when he said, "You read my mind." I'm in the exact same position as you going into this conference. Not only that, but I'm in the middle of working on a presentation about being created in the image of our Creator--the creative potential in all of us. I may have to quote you on your examples. Is that okay? :)

    I look forward to meeting you in Indy!

  11. Hi Lydia,
    Thanks for your comments! Of course you may quote me! (presentation for ??)

    Hope to see you at the conference.

  12. beautiful reminder. It is all about God! This will be my first conference as well, so I've had some of the same feelings. Thanks for this post.

  13. You're welcome, Melanie! Hope to see you at the conference!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.