Monday, September 9, 2013

The best writers conference I never attended

Do you feel the excitement in the air? The American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) annual conference begins Thursday in Indianapolis. I am looking forward to seeing friends and connecting with fellow writers from the Stitches Thru Time Blog.

Participating in a conference is an invaluable experience for a writer. But one of the best conferences was the one I didn't go to.
In 2009, Becky Yauger was vice president and also staying home because of health reasons. She offered to lead some online discussions through the email loop for those of us who were stuck at home.
And boy, did I feel stuck!

A career change earlier in the year had failed to live up to expectations. I spent most of my days in an office all alone. Finances were tight. A relationship was unraveling. Paths that had seemed so promising had turned into dead ends.
In the midst of all this frustration, the dream of writing a novel seemed frivolous. I questioned if I should give up those ambitions for something serious. Something useful.
As Becky prepared us for the online "conference," I decided to set aside those days in September to do something I'd never done before - a time of dedicated praying about writing. The Lord touched my heart during those four days four years ago in such a way it has guided my writing ever since.

Last year, I shared a little bit of that experience on the ACFW loop. Becky immediately emailed back to tell how much the conference-that-wasn't-a-conference had meant to her as she recovered. She had no idea that it had helped anyone else. When we bumped into each other in the elevator in Dallas, we shared warm hugs and deep conversation.

I'm excited to go to Indianapolis this week. And overwhelmed and wondering what on earth I'm doing. But in those doubts, I think back to a dreary day in 2009. What I was convinced was a dead end had actually led right to God. Becky had been willing to serve the Lord even through her difficult circumstances, which blessed me immeasurably. It makes me realize sometimes I am called to minister through the yucky places to help someone else.

Whether you're going to conference or feeling "stuck" in some way, I pray you'll discover God's leading. Perhaps He has us right where He wants us after all.
"The Lord will work out His plans for my life - for your faithful love, O Lod, endures forever." Psalm 138:8
Thanks for letting me share. 
Susan Mires

Will you be in Indianapolis or what will you be doing this week?


  1. Thanks for your post, Susie. I'm going to conference too (but you already knew that. :)) I feel the need to remind myself that if I do what I can do, I can rest in God's faithfulness to do what He plans and in the knowledge that His plans are good.

    Your post was a good confirmation of that.

  2. A good word, Lora. His plans are good.

  3. Susan, in answer to your question "Will you be in Indianapolis or what will you be doing this week?", I will be one of countless spouses, family members, and friends "holding down the fort" by feeding pets and kids, keeping the yard watered, and *praying*. All of us look forward to hearing what God does for, and in, each of you! Bill Young (AKA "Lora's husband)

  4. Thanks for holding down the fort, Bill. And if you get bored, feel free to come mow my yard :)

  5. Enjoy a wonderful time at the conference!