In My Words: When Packing for ACFW, Don't Bring Along Too Many Expectations
Last week, the Alley Cats over at The Writers Alley interviewed Chip MacGregor. I consider Chip the go-to-guy for all things publishing. The founder MacGregor Literary, Chip knows writing and editing and marketing and agenting like no one else. And, yeah, I like his sense of humor, snark and all.
Chip listed five excellent reasons to attend a writers conference. One sentence stood out to me like a flare shot off into the night sky: The value of a conference depends on your expectations.
A bit of brilliance in nine words.
We haul a lot of stuff with us when we travel to a writers conference. Clothes. Pitch sheets. Book proposals. Business cards.
When you're packing for the conference, do you ever wonder if the hidden load of expectations will push you over your allowed weight limit?
Just what are your expectations for a writers conference? Specifically, if you're going to ACFW, what are your expectations?
As Chip pointed out in his blog post, it's not about not having expectations. Rather, it's about evaluating your expectations. Hoping an editor will read your manuscript during a 15 minute appointment? Well . . . expect to be disappointed. That's not what those appointments are for.
So what are some reasonable expectations for ACFW?
- Expect to be tired--but in a good way and for good reason. Going to bed early and sleeping in late is not the reason we attend writers conferences. I mean, go ahead if you want to. If you need to. But realize that most people toss away their notion of time for the duration of the conference.
- Expect to learn. A lot. Oh. My. Word. How do you ever choose between continuing education sessions and workshops and appointments? DiAnn Mills. Randy Ingermanson. Susan May Warren. Jenny B. Jones.
- Expect to be disappointed. (I'm sorry. Somebody had to say it.) It happens. An appointment bombs. You forget your pitch. Or an agent says, "No thanks." Or you don't win the Genesis award. Part of being a writer is learning to deal with the disappointments. To not let them derail you from pursuing your dreams.
- Expect to make friends. You're with other writers. They get you. They speak your language. They want to hear about your story. Does it get any better than this?
- Expect to want to come back next year. Yep, writers conferences are addicting. You're gonna want to do it again. And again. So start saving those pennies and those frequent flier miles.
In Your Words: What expectations are you packing for ACFW? What expectations are you making sure don't sneak into your carry-on bag?