Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hang on to the Joy

ACFW 2015 is over and for several days we lived in a beautiful balloon of joy, friendship, and praise. We were surrounded by people of like minds and creative ambitions, buoyed with hope and high expectations. ACFW is a place of warm acceptance. First timers were relieved to find a welcoming atmosphere. Old timers were excited to be back and reconnect with friends. Everyone there wants to meet you. Authors love to meet aspiring writers and are always willing to help or give advice. Editors and agents want to hear your pitch. That’s why they come.
           I watched as the people came out of the interview rooms and nearly all were smiling and encouraged. The things they worried about didn’t happen and things they hadn’t expected did. By the end of the weekend everyone is filled with joy and hope. And of course the workshops and classes have provided so much valuable information it’s impossible to process it all.
           I had breakfast the last morning with close friends. Some had come with me from Jackson, Mississippi. A few were from other states, and one was a new acquaintance. We were all reluctant to see our time together end, but there were planes to catch, jobs to return to, and families that needed us.
           On the ride home the joy and excitement lingered. We had a first timer with us who had an amazing conference, and requests for her manuscript from several professionals. We giggle and laughed filled with the afterglow of the conference. But as we drew closer to Jackson, we grew more silent. Fatigue was taking hold. That’s the dangerous part of attending a conference.
           We’d spent the weekend floating high above the ground in that beautiful balloon of God’s love and protection. Now we’ve landed and we have to step out of the basket and into the world and the Accuser is anxious to get back to work.
           Fatigue, steals our joy. Doubts start to creep in. Insecurities bubble up once more. That makes him very happy. He wants to snatch our hope and joy and crush it, and the easiest way is to whisper in our ears. “That editor didn’t really want to see your work. She was just being polite.” “That agent wasn’t really interested. He says that to everyone he interviews.”
           Don’t listen!
           Don’t let him steal the joy of the conference. When he speaks words of doubt, remember they are lies. If you’ve been asked to send a manuscript or a proposal, follow through no matter what. Many times I’ve heard agents and editors lament that they request proposals but never get them. They send revision notes but the author never responds. I’ve talked to writers who never finished a book, or made the revisions because when they got home the doubts set in and they convinced themselves that it was a futile effort.
           Finish. Follow through. Submit. It’s true you might not sell your book or get a request for a full, but if you don’t send it to them how will you know? I sold my second book off of a very bad first draft. That never happens. But it did. Hold onto the wonderful feelings you found at conference. Let it sustain you. The Lord put you in Dallas for a reason, remind yourself of that daily.
           As I write this, and try and collect my thoughts, I’m feeling the fatigue too. It’s pulling me down making me think that no one will care about this post. It’s saying I can’t get my current book done by the deadline. It’s a fight for all of us. The tempter wants to stop our words from reaching the world. We tend to think of temptations in big terms. Tempted to do drugs, to lie, cheat, or steal. But his biggest temptation is to listen to the lie and do nothing. Don’t let him win. Stand firm in the Word and your faith, and I hope to see all of you at the next conference with first contract ribbons on your name tags.
      1Peter5:8-9  “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion…resist him, standing firm in the faith.”


  1. I didn't go to conference this year, so I missed seeing you and my ACFW friends. I'm already looking forward to next year when it's closer to me. I hope to see you in Nashville. Until that time I'm going to try to hang on to the joy I receive from writing the words God gives me.

  2. I'm glad you wrote this blog. I felt the same way after returning home. You begin to second guess yourself and doubt the progress you made at the conference. But with the prayers and support of writer friends, you can continue to compare stories of success and awards. These published authors are an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your journeys.