Still better than Buttercup (from The Princess Bride)

In celebration that we’re officially a week away from the ACFW Conference in Dallas (wooohoooo!!), I decided to create a few posts on the subject until it finally arrives. Everyday, I’ll talk about an aspect of the conference that deserves prayer/preparation/meditation or just plain shouts of excitement.

So number 1 on our list is….drum rolls….NAME TAGS!! šŸ™‚ Ha ha bet you thought I’d just say something deep like “elevator pitch” or “how not to hyperventilate when the agent/editor/author of your dreams makes eye contact.”

But right now, I want to talk about the very first thing you experience once you arrive at the conference. You’re given a little pouch on your neck that tells the other attendees your name, what you write, if you’re a first timer, if you’re a finalist, or if you’ve accumulated so many business cards that your little pouch is about to burst. And trust me, last year, being 5 and a half months pregnant, that was NOT a fun experience with my aching back.

My point with these ramblings is just to say that the very first thing you’ll have a chance to do during the conference is INTENSE socialization. I know, most of us writers aren’t super extroverts. I can talk a lot given the opportunity, but often, I need my space. By the end of the conference, I had a headache and feared the next time someone would ask me what I wrote. My preggo situation also made me prone to dizziness when having to focus at the dozen people sitting around me during a meal.

But now, I’m happy to say there’s no baby in my belly, forcing me to take potty breaks at the mostĀ inappropriateĀ times, or munch on a bag of cookies mid-workshop (sorry fellow attendees – I was faint with hunger, and would NOT miss that class!). No, this time, I’ll go just me and my beloved novel to pitch.

I mean, just me and my husband, almost 3-year-old daughter, almost 8-month-old son and in-laws LOL. But they’ll be sight seeing around Dallas while I enjoy the conference. I wanted hubby to be with me at the awards dinner, and we’d need help with the kids, so this turned out to be family trip fast. And I love that it did – they’ll be great reminders for me at the end of the day of who I am besides an author.

I mention all of this to say, besides appointments, and classes and etc, one thing you can count on doing at the conference is meeting people. Don’t even worry if you’re shy, tongue-tied, or whatever. You’ll have no choice lol. There’s something about realizing you’re not the only nervous person in the room that helps us forget such nervousness in the first place :). My prayer is that we don’t get intimidated by the crowds but actually feel energized by them. And that Proverbs 27:17 (“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”) will come true for us in those days, no matter what our name tags say.