Chairs in a meeting room

So another conference is rolling around.

I know. It sounds like all I do is go to conferences. Really, the last conference was in the spring. I’ve just been turtle-speed about posting the whole story.

But I do like conferences, so I figured I’d post a three tips in case y’all go to one. (And I definitely recommend you do.)

1) Make some goals. This comes from the penny-pinching, Bohemian DNA I attribute to my mother. Conferences cost money. You want to make the most of it.

Goals help you choose the right conference for your needs. Are you still learning basic craft? Are you ready for an agent? Looking to pitch to an editor? Choose a conference that provides those opportunities.

2) Prepare. This comes from the sensible, Pennsylvania Dutch DNA I got from my Dad. Anything worth doing is worth doing right, including attending a conference.

Research the publishers, agents, mentors, etc., you want to talk to (‘cause you’ve set goals, right??) and know what materials you’ll need for a successful meeting. If you’re not pitching, make a list of questions to ask. You want to make a good impression, of course, but you also want to get the most bang for your conference buck.

3) Pray. This comes from God’s Word. Pray before the conference, pray during, and pray after. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I’m not talking about the “Oh, dear God, what have I done?” prayers. I’m talking about the kind that acknowledge who’s running the universe.

If God can order the path of every galaxy, planet, and molecule, he can pretty well handle your conference. Trust him to send the right people across your path. And even if you say something stupid to them (I speak from experience here), don’t freak. He can make it come out okay in the end.

And anyway, somebody else will eventually say something dumber.

By the way, be open to God rearranging (without warning) everything you planned under tips 1 and 2. He does that. He’s God.

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