Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Time for Everything at a Conference


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die (A new story idea is born while you ride the airport shuttle. An old story officially dies after hearing two others pitch something way too similar during a workshop about clichés nonetheless.)

a time to plant and a time to uproot (A spine-tingling conversation is happening in the bar. You plant it. Women begin gossiping about a fellow writer. You uproot.)

a time to kill and a time to heal (You kill your darlings during an intensive editing workshop. You heal from the comments you weren’t expecting to hear from an editor while sitting with him at lunch.)

a time to tear down and a time to build (You break your plot into teeny tiny pieces to evaluate only so you can build your story back up stronger after an inspiring plot structuring workshop.)

a time to weep and a time to laugh (You cry at the joy of seeing friends. You laugh with those same friends when one receives a request for a full.)

a time to mourn and a time to dance (You take a moment in the lobby to mourn that your career path will never look like Stellar Susan’s. And then you go get your groove on in a hotel room, dancing with friends...this I really did last year.)

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them (You hand out your one-sheets and business cards. You collect business cards and words of advice before you sweat yourself into a Wicked Witch puddle pre-pitch session.)

a time to embrace and a time to refrain (You embrace those you’ve established a strong bond with. You refrain from tackling your favorite agent to the ground in the ladies restroom, while screaming out the lyrics to David Cassidy’s “I Think I Love You”.)

a time to search and a time to give up (You scan the crowd for your top picks of who you’d like to sit with at lunch and when you realize their table is entirely full, you give up and end up sitting with exactly who God wants you to.)

a time to keep and a time to throw away (A trusted mentor offers a gold nugget on your way to meet with an editor. Keep it. Your napkin from lunch when you were able to sit with desired agent…throw that away!)

a time to tear and a time to mend (That entire first chapter. You rip it up after you realize it’s corroded with back story, a puffy and unnecessary prologue, and boring details. And in the bathroom at 2 a.m. you quietly mend your herky jerky ending.)

a time to be silent and a time to speak (You’re sitting in a class when an agent offers folks to stand up and give their pitch. You stay silent knowing you’ll have your time in T minus one hour during a one on one.)

a time to love and a time to hate (You love arriving and hate leaving.)

a time for war and a time for peace (You war with your insecure thoughts all weekend only to leave at peace with how everything unraveled.)

Because after all, there’s a time for everything at a conference!

Relate to any of the above?

*from Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 with my interpretive conference-minded spin on it
**most of the above are fabricated scenarios with real potential to occur


Sarah Forgrave said...

Love this, Wendy!!! Since I'm staying at the hotel this year, I expect an invitation to said dance party. Just sayin'. ;)

Keli Gwyn said...

Wonderful post, Wendy. Loved the clever scenarios you created.

I used to arrive at a conference carrying a suitcase crammed full of expectations. When I learned to leave that baggage behind and let the Lord lead, I end up having a great time and being blessed in more ways than I could possibly imagine.

Last year one of those blessings was meeting YOU. I didn't get to dance with you, but your hugs and megawatt smiles were awesome. I'm looking forward to more of them this year.

Casey said...

Wow, what a great post. I've never been to ACFW and can only go off emotions I have heard second hand have happened to other writers. Thank you Wendy, I believe this helps me prepare for attending and what to expect. What a value!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Wendy, I love how you crafted this post. I hope your conference is all that God wants it to be for you!

Ralene said...

Fabulous post. I want an invitation to that dance party too. I know this conference is going to be so amazing. Thank you for the reminder of BALANCE! :)

Diane said...

Love that picture! So much fun was had I can tell!!! :O)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Sarah, Absolutely. Let's dance! :D

Keli, You were the blessing for me! And I couldn't agree more about going in with few expecations.

Casey, I know you'll have a blast! Squeeze.

Jeanne, Thank you. It was fun to craft!

Ralene, We'll dance the night away.

Diane, So much fun!

Thanks for swinging by today! I had a lot of fun writing this post.
~ Wendy

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Oh, Wendy. Love, love, love this post! I could really relate to a lot of what you wrote, too. So sad I'll miss this years conference but I know I'll be right where God wants me to be.

MaDonna said...

Really enjoyed this post, Wendy! I've never been able to attend a conference, but I'm thinking I could have any of those scenarios happen! I WILL attend a conference sometime...that is a goal I have set for my next trip back to the US. Love reading all the fun you all have, but I have GOT to get in some action and experience it myself! LOL

Catherine West said...

That was awesome! I can't believe conference is only a few weeks away! I'm so excited! See you SOON!!! WOOOOT!!! (Told you I was excited).