Thursday, September 20, 2012

Left Behind...from ACFW

by Susanne Dietze

A version of this blog appeared a year ago. I found I needed to read it again, so I re-vamped it. Please forgive the re-post!

If you’re reading this, I can guess you’re not in Dallas for the 2012 American Christian Fiction Writers Conference which starts today. Me neither. We all have our reasons for staying home, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t a little sad or jealous—and maybe more than a bit curious about what we’re missing.

While some of our favorite inspirational authors (both published and soon-to-be published) are networking, we’re working day jobs. While they’re marinating in the teaching of notable speakers, we’re marinating tonight’s chicken dinner. Which we’ll be eating while they’re celebrating achievement in inspirational writing with a big ol’ banquet.

But this is not the time to have a pity party! Those of us who are left behind from Conference can accomplish some big things weekend. Here’s what I plan to do:

Be present in the moment and trust in God. Rejoice in wherever you are this weekend, because the Lord most probably wanted you there, whether it’s a family wedding or a kid’s soccer game. God’s faithfulness and love for you is the same as it ever was. Trust in His timing and provision, and pray to be able to discern His will for your future attendance.

Validate my emotions but not allow them to take over. I admit it: I wish I were at ACFW. It’s easy to feel left out or like I’m going to miss a major opportunity. I’d love to sit down with other Inkies, my agent, and new friends alike. Those emotions are ok. What isn’t ok is if I let them stew, so I’m going to turn them over to the Lord.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30

Write. Networking is only part of our job as writers. If we don’t have proposals / manuscripts in hand, then there’s nothing to publish. Plan to get some work accomplished toward that end. As for me, I’ll be writing a synopsis.
© Kornilovdream | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Do research—for your story or your craft. Since I’m writing a synopsis this weekend (one of my least favorite things to do), I’m going to search online for articles to help me do it well.

Attend the At Home Conference:

Party. We can join in the celebration for the Genesis and Carol Awards! Participate in the Live Blog, which will occur during the awards ceremony tomorrow, September 22, at 6:00 PM CDT. Click here to take part.

© Sergiu | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

 Do one thing to pamper yourself. Paint your toenails, take a nap, order a zillion-calorie drink at Starbuck’s (mine will be a Pumpkin Spice Latte!)—whatever makes you feel special and nurtured.

I’ll be praying for conference, and for those of us left behind. Perhaps one of these days—maybe even next year—we’ll be there together.

What are you doing this weekend?


Susanne Dietze has written love stories since she was in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and spending time with family and friends. She won first place in the Historical category of the 2011-2012 Phoenix Rattler, and her work has finaled in the Genesis, Gotcha!, and Touched By Love Contests. Susanne is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. You can visit her on her website,


  1. Susie, the truth is that if I went to conference I'd THEN be missing our saturday night cyber-get-together. It's tradition now that you and I gather in our best jammies and tune into the live blog. It honestly makes me very happy to be 'there', er... rather 'here'.

    I had my moment yesterday morning. The pangs of disappointment. It happened when I saw the posts on Facebook proclaiming "I'm on my way to Dallas" After seeing two or three of these - and from people I'd so like to meet, I felt like last chosen for dodgeball.

    But it went away. And then I got caught up in the excitement my friends had for their opportunity!
    So, today is going to be my WRITE ALL DAY day and check in occasionally on posts and photos from Dallas.

    Here's hoping everyone comes home with something very encouraging about their writing, and all wound up from the fellowship!

  2. I love the links, Susie. And the spirit of this post. Thank you. Yes, I admit I'm a little sad not to be there. But I'm making plans to be there next year!

    I'll be writing today, tomorrow, and this weekend - and last night I wrote a mini outline of where I want my writing to go - we'll see if it works. Thank you for the commiseration!

  3. I'm a broken record (do people even understand that metaphor these days?)
    I am planning on going next year. Can we get the SusieSuzie's to Indy?

    I'm so disappointed to miss DeAnna on Friday. I almost flew to Dallas to hang out in the lobby!

  4. I only attended one ACFW conference, and I'd love to go back. Personally, I hope someday to earn enough money writing to support my conference habit. I do regret not being able to go and meet those Inkies and others who are there. I hope they're having a wonderful time.

    I don't think I have plans this weekend--just trying to unpack from a brief road trip I took with my daughter, though.

  5. Thanks for the reminder to trust God in the moment and enjoy the opportunities He has given. I'll join you for the PS Latte!

  6. Deb, I'd never pick you last for my dodgeball team! But I totally know the feeling. I feel like a baby left in a playpen watching the big kids head out the door for the zoo. Or some other stupid simile.

    It's easy to go down What-if road when you miss a conference. What if an editor appointment could make all the difference for getting my manuscript read, what if...blah blah blah. Pity Party City. And totally unbiblical. Our God is bigger than this.

    You and I have a fabulous tradition of eating tasty nibbles, wearing jammies, and tuning in to the live blog. This year I feel even more sad than in past years, so I plan to have something fattening. Like spinach artichoke dip. Or nachos. I hope my husband is paying attention.

    Write all day: you go girl! I'm cheering you on! I'm going to try to get this synopsis done today (snort).

  7. Suzie, you've got a great writing plan for the weekend! Way to go!

    RWA was so much fun. I'm glad we had that awesome conference experience!

    Will you be taking the train to Indy next year?

  8. Hey Barb! You know, this morning I was thinking the same thing about affording a conference habit, LOL. But what a habit to have.

    Hopefully we'll all be able to meet up sometime soon.

    Where did you and your daughter go?

  9. Susie--
    We just got back from Lancaster, PA. Went to see Jonah at Sight and Sound and hit the outlets and smorgasbords. Just a whirlwind trip.

  10. Sounds fun, Barb! Did you have success at the outlets?

  11. You could say that. Our trunk was packed, so our luggage had to return home in the back seat.

  12. How fun, Barb! I'm glad you got some good deals.

    Sigh. I love shopping more than I should. :)

  13. SIght and Sound is an amazing experience!

    Susie, I'll be eating the carrots on party night. I did my food celebrating for about three months and GUESS WHAT . IT WORKS!

    Okay, I was just on FB looking for photos. So far, Anita hasn't put any up for today. She must be BUSY, ya think?

    I know we can count on her tonight, though I will forgive her for trying to get to sleep after a long day and long evening of workshops and socializing.

  14. I peeked for photos, too, Deb, but I didn't see any yet, either. She is never without her camera, however, and I trust she's getting some good pictures.

    So far, my synopsis is going painfully slowly. If I were paid to write these things, I don't think it would help motivate me. Bleah.

    Keep on typing...keep on typing...

  15. Susie, I utterly despise writing synopses. It's so painful!

    Yes! Yes I'm planning to take the train to Indy. :-)

  16. Oh Suzie, thanks for commiserating with me. Synopses wear me out.

    I didn't finish. But I did get a good chunk of a draft out there.

  17. Hi Susie,
    I loved this post. This is the first year I've missed going to ACFW in quite awhile. I'm working on a new proposal and mentally marinating in the story this weekend. I love conference but it is expensive and the money needed to go to other needs this year. I will however invest in the MP3s and can't wait to listen to those. Hope to see you all in Indy next year.

  18. Hi Jillian! Glad we could commiserate about staying home together. :) Sounds like you're getting good work done this weekend! I can't wait to read the finished product...

  19. I saw Suzie on the live chat and a PHOTO of Jen from the ACFW!

    great fun. I'm so happy for the winners-- a couple of them are dear to my heart (as well as a few who didn't win. but HEY, just getting in the finals is such an honor!

    Can't wait to see the photos and hear all the good stories!


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