Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Conference Planning…otherwise known as Stratego

The Yielded Quill welcomes guest blogger, Elizabeth Ludwig:

Remember that old, world domination game, Stratego? My husband used to love that game. He cheated, of course. I never could beat him. It did teach me some valuable lessons about preparing for writer’s conferences, however, a skill for which I’m eternally grateful…

Okay, so that was lame.

Still, there’s a lot to be learned from taking over the world—sketching out a plan of attack, for example, or utilizing your forces in a way that maximizes impact. And let’s not forget targeting your enemy and striking while they’re weak.

Armed with these tools, I attended my first writer’s conference in Houston, Texas, in 2003. You may remember me. I was the one skulking around like a CIA agent on a covert op trying to land all the best appointments.


Oh, what I’ve learned since then. Sitting at a table with Janelle Mowery, Lyn Coleman, and several others at another conference several years later, I summed it up this way:

“I thought I was ready to be published when I attended my first conference. I was certain of it. I’d written several novels, joined a critique group, read books on writing…I was READY.

By the time I attended my second conference, I knew better. Thankfully, I’d learned a lot in the months that followed, so by the time my second conference rolled around, I thought, okay, maybe I wasn’t ready last year, but NOW I’m ready to be published.

This is my third conference, and you know what? I have no idea if I’m ready to be published. I’m just going to leave it in God’s hands and hope for the best.”

While that garnered a laugh, it really was the truth. Yes, I was still learning. Yes, I was still networking. And yes, finally, I was relying fully and solely on God. What a difference that made in my attitude, and in my overall conference experience. No longer was I skulking in hallways or lurking around elevator doors, waiting to ambush some poor, unsuspecting editor. Instead, I looked for ways to make others feel comfortable. I sought out those whose earnest faces showed their anxiety and pain. In other words, I made friends instead of contacts. I scheduled prayer times instead of appointments. I visited over dinner, instead of strategizing.

I’m going to my sixth writer’s conference this year. Already I’m planning what I will pack, things like business cards, proposal packets, and pitch sheets.

The world domination plan? That I’m leaving at home.

Look for Where the Truth Lies, Heartsong Presents: MYSTERIES! by Elizabeth Ludwig, co-authored with Janelle Mowery.

Casey Alexander refuses to believe her aunt committed suicide. Her personal investigation makes some people uncomfortable enough to want her dead. As the main suspect in Casey's quest, Luke Kerrigan does some searching of his own. What he finds has him doing a little more digging that leads him to doors he may not want opened. The secrets unearthed will turn lives upside down and threaten the peace in their small community.

Coming Soon from Elizabeth Ludwig and Janelle Mowery: Spring 2009 - Died in the Wool - Heartsong Presents: MYSTERIES!

Monah Trenary takes great pride in how she runs the public library, touting it as a quiet place of learning and discovery. But that peace is shattered when she discovers the body of high school English teacher Charlotte Tait in the ladies restroom, and the people of Pine Mills Massachusetts learn they once again harbor a murderer.


Marcia Gruver said...

Wow, sage wisdom and a blast from the past. Nice post, Lisa.

After my first conference (where an editor took pity and asked me to send a proposal) I phoned my family and told them he had agreed to publish my book. We celebrated for two days until someone kindly explained the facts to me.

I was so green at the time that I didn't even know what a proposal was! Ouch! Still smarts all these years later. :)

Janelle said...

Isn't it funny how we like to run ahead of God thinking we know what to do or what's best? If nothing else, these conferences have taught me that waiting on God and His perfect timing and plans is always best. Great post, Lisa

Jess said...

Good post, Lisa. I'm not familiar with Stratego. RISK is our family game. Sounds like the same thing. You know, I've been to conferences where I felt I was involved in a war. LOL
Talk about stressful!

Susan said...

Aw, Lisa, I knew you secretly wanted to take over the world. LOL And Marcia your story is too funny. We should gather together stories of mistakes that writers made when they were first entering the business and publish it in a book. I know I have a few good ones that will be kept in THE VAULT until someone pays me to publish them.

Marcia Gruver said...

Well, shucks! There I go again, subjecting myself to humiliation for free. :)

What a great idea, Susan. Providing we can get enough writers to squeal on themselves. I guess I lack enough sense to hide my shameful past. Honey, you want stories? I got stories. :D

(And I've collected a fair assortment of stories on all of you guys! teehee!)

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

(laughing) Who said my wanting to take over the world was a SECRET??


Actually, not sure I want to attempt that. The Germans tried that once and no one has ever let them live it down...(wink)

Sandra Robbins said...

Great post, Lisa. It sounds like you've come to grips with what we all need to understand--that God's timing is best. When we understand that, I think we start to look not just at ourselves but also others. I can't wait to see what God has planned for this year's ACFW conference. Our blessings may be different, but they'll be special for each one in attendance.

Sandra Robbins

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