Tanara McCauley

Culturally Imagined Stories

Ready…or Not: An Author’s Pre-Conference Petition (and Parody)

In less than a week, I will kiss my husband and kids goodbye, board a plane, hoist my carry-on in the overhead compartment, and fly to Indianapolis for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference.

I’ve worked on my proposal and one-sheets (all that’s great about your novel on one page), practiced my elevator pitch, become acquainted with other first-timers via a group thread, and have been praying for God’s will, whatever it is, to be done.

I’m ready…almost.

The idea of being among hundreds of other authors–all Christians, all with the goal of using the craft of writing to glorify the Lord and touch lives while doing it–is astounding. And I’m amped to worship with these folks.

I’m praying to walk away with a new writing buddy. Not just a “trade likes on Facebook” type of buddy (though I’ll take those too :-)), but a special sister I can connect with on that deeper level to take this journey with.

The worship and the buddy connection I’m anticipating are enough to have me so excited I burn calories just thinking about them.

But then I think about the appointments–those two fifteen minute slots I’ll have with an editor or agent (I won’t know who/which til I get there)–and I ask, “What on earth have I gotten myself into?”

It’s silly really, I know. Tell that to my beating heart. Tell it that those fears of showing up to my appointments and not remembering my own name (let alone the summary of my story in thirty words) is unrealistic. As is the notion that I’ll open my folder to pull out a one-sheet only to find it empty, or open my mouth and start selling my story…in Chinese.

This past week the nerves have put me in a very “productive in every area but conference preparation” sort of mode.

Instead of fixing the formatting issues on my one-sheet, I’ll look at my 3-year-old and think, “I haven’t updated her baby book in a while.” I’ve trimmed my plants, organized closets, categorized photos for goodness sake…anything to avoid thinking about that whopping thirty minutes of the conference weekend.

According to all that’s sane and scriptural, it’s ridiculous. The worst thing that can happen is I pitch my book and they’re not interested. Rejection is nothing new in the world we writers live in. So, being at peace with that potential outcome, why can’t I shake these “interview” jitters?

I don’t have a concrete answer. Some on my first-timers loop (my new peeps) have suggested spiritual warfare, which they’re experiencing in various ways. And it makes sense, since introversion walks a fine line between personality trait and personality flaw, and it’s definitely an area where I’m susceptible.

It could also be the weakness I have that Christ uses to tell me “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

And like I told my peeps, “Though I’d love to be that person who’s so confident and carefree their only worries are what places of interest to visit during free time, I have to say that my insecurities have made me cling to God and bury my face in His robe like a child stuck to the leg of a parting parent. So I’ll take it.”

Regardless of the why, however, the what is not an option. I will, for lack of a better epithet, “get er done.” I will polish my proposal, put some more practice on these pitches, fix this annoying alignment issue on my one-sheet, and, oh yeah, pack.

And I will ask for your prayers.

Pray for me that I will finish strong in my preparations, and that I will go to this conference trusting God. Pray also that He will help me to just be myself, to be open to and serving of others, to be confident in Him and joyful. Pray that His will be done.

And pray for my family that He watches over and guards them while I am away, and that He brings me home to them safely. And if you are willing, pray the same for the hundreds of others rowing the same boat that I’m in. We all need it.

Thank you, and God bless you.

Now I’m ready.

24 responses to “Ready…or Not: An Author’s Pre-Conference Petition (and Parody)”

  1. Can’t wait to hear how it all turns out! Praying for God’s sovereignty to lead to right connections.
    Hate to be shallow, but I do believe you will at least be the most beautiful author there! (And the most hilarious children.)


  2. wow! what an awesome adventure. I wish you well and will be praying that everything goes well and that you finish strong. I also pray that God grant you all the desires of your heart.
    Awesome Post and Video!


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