by Debby Giusti
I’m flying to Denver today and looking forward to seeing all the Seekers and Seeker friends at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. Excitement has been building over the last few weeks, and there’s been a lot of chatter on the blog about what will happen this year. First timers may be nervous. Even regular attendees may have concerns. That’s why today--for the first time ever--I’m presenting the GIUSTI PLAN for a successful conference experience.
Goals! Set realistic goals. Determine in advance what you want to achieve during the conference. To improve your writing, choose workshops focused on an area you need strengthened, then set your sights on learning five new writing strategies to take your work to the next level. Networking is important, and the support of writing friends is invaluable when the going gets tough so add a goal about making five, eight or ten new friends. Remember to exchange email addresses to keep in touch throughout the year. If you’re planning to pitch your story to an editor or agent, be prepared to talk about your characters’ GMC. You don’t have to tell the whole plot, but you need to let the editor know how your characters change and grow.
Include a bonus goal that makes you stretch. Pitching to two additional editors may take courage on your part, but since publishing industry professionals host tables at lunch on Friday and Saturday, it’s a realistic goal. Arrive at meals early to reserve your seat at a favorite editor’s table. A fun bonus this year, might be to meet all the Seekers in person and cover your Treasure Map at the book signing.
Use your imagination to visualize accomplishing your goals. Actually close your eyes and “see” yourself in each situation. Imagine the satisfaction you’ll feel as you check off the completed tasks. Don’t forget to add a glimpse of the post-conference you ready to use the new tools you’ve learned. Go one step farther and picture yourself as a successful, published author!
Still the negative voice! Quell any non-productive thoughts that surface. When that interior voice says you can’t succeed, instantly override the negative with something affirming and uplifting. Don’t let self-doubt or fear hamper you in any way.
Take advantage of every opportunity. Chat with the gal riding in the elevator with you. Introduce yourself to the person standing behind you in line at the coffee kiosk. Say hello to authors at the book signing. (Authors want to make a friend more than they want to make a sale, so don’t be a stranger!) No matter how shy you think you are, don’t hole up in your room. People are waiting to meet you. Plus you paid for the conference so attend the events and make the most of every minute.
Include prayer! Cover the conference with prayer in advance, then start each day asking the Lord to open doors, direct your steps and place you exactly where He wants you to be. Always remember John 15:16: It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit. God has chosen you so step out in faith confident you’re doing His will and His work.
I hope the GIUSTI PLAN helps you make this year’s ACFW conference the best ever. See you in Denver!
Wishing you abundant blessings,
Christmas Peril, on sale December 8, features two great stories in one collection: Yule Die, by Debby Giusti, and Merry Mayhem, by Margaret Daley.