by Beth K. Vogt
Two types of people are reading this blog:
- People going to the ACFW conference in Grapevine, Texas from September 21-24
- People not going to the ACFW conference in Grapevine, Texas from September 21-24
This post is for you – no matter whether you’re packing a suitcase and looking forward to attending workshops and connecting with other writers from early morning until late at night – or whether you wish you were. Want to know why?
Because you can help each other out.
If you’re attending the upcoming conference, what can you do for a writing buddy who wishes they were going to be there, too?
- Share the experience with them. Tweet out some writing tips from the workshops you attend. Post photos on Instagram and Facebook. Go ahead and tell your friend you miss them because, guess what? They miss you, too. (Hashtag #acfw2017)
- Bring your friend along. No, I’m not talking about springing for registration, a hotel room, and a plane ticket. Try this: One time, a group of friends and I were at an ACFW conference and one of our friends couldn’t attend that year. We scheduled a Skype session with her, gathering around a laptop in one of our hotel rooms. For 15 minutes, there was laughter, people vying for screen time, and lots of good conversation.
- Let them know how they can pray for you. Your friend can’t be with you, but they can be your spiritual ground support. What are you nervous about? What “big moments” can they pray you through?
- Pray for them. Remind your friend that God’s got them and their writing journey and that you are praying for them. God can accomplish what concerns them with or without a writing conference. (Psalm 138:8)
If you’re staying home (like I am this year), what can you do to support your friends attending the conference?
- Pack a small bag for a friend attending the conference. Include some favorite Scripture verses written on index cards. An encouraging “you can do this!” note. Tea or Starbucks Vias. Their favorite snacks – chocolate, maybe? How about an “in case of emergency kit” with needle and thread, gum, mints, pen and notepad, an inexpensive cell phone charger – whatever you think would work.
- Text your friend once or twice a day. Don’t say, “Oh, I wish I was there!” They know that. Tell them you’re glad they’re at the conference and you’re cheering them on.
- Help hold down the home front. Some of you are already going to do this, I know. Volunteer if your conference-attending friend needs help with their kids, pets, plants, or mail. If they need a ride to or from the airport, step up for that, too. It’ll give you a chance to listen to their elevator pitch one more time – and remind them to relax, that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Pray for them. Ask your friend when their appointments are and then set aside that time to pray for them. Pray for their health. For them to get enough sleep. (I know, it ain’t gonna happen!) For them to connect with the right people – other writers, as well as editors and agents.
Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A Christy Award winner, as well as an ACFW Carol Award winner, Beth is the author of nine contemporary romance novels and novellas. Her first women’s fiction novel, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018 from Tyndale House Publishers.