Friday, 14 October 2016

ONLY 2 WEEKS TO GO! - WHAT TO EXPECT FROM CONFERENCE


2016 Conference Centre at Mulgoa
My personal experience of conferences is that they can be wonderful, overwhelming, crush your dreams, build your expectations, and encourage you to achieve way more than you ever hoped all at once. You can come away exhausted.

So if you are attending the Omega Writers’ Conference this year, or any other writers’ conference, I thought I’d give you an idea of what to pack, what to expect, and how to be mentally and spiritually prepared to get the most out of it. 

Important items to pack:

Comfortable walking shoes. Although most of the rooms are fairly close together, some are upstairs and it’s amazing how much you can be on your feet at a conference. A few years ago I completely wore out a new pair of sandals. First mistake – trying to wear in a new pair of sandals. Better to focus on comfort rather than appearance.

Layers of clothing are good. Moving from room to room means varying temperatures. It’s good to be able to cool down and warm up as needed. Being comfortable takes away distractions.

A timepiece. If you are a time conscious person, a watch or timepiece is essential. I went without a watch one year and felt completely lost as I tried to follow the program and be where I needed to be.

Pen and notepaper! Make that several pens and a whole notebook! (although a little bird tells me you will receive a gift of a pen and notebook when you arrive so you don't need to totally load down your bags with notebooks). Expect to hear lots of good things worth remembering, but remember your mind has limited capacity – well, mine does, anyway. I still look back over my notes from past conferences to remind myself of the gems people offered. And for those of you who are more up to date than I am you might  prefer to bring your laptop. Especially if you are taking advantage of bootcamp or attending Deb Porter's eBook workshop.


Money for the book shop. (Note, there will also be credit card facilities. Bank transfers and cheques will also be accepted.) Now, you might be like I was one year and decide it’s a good strategy to not take money so you won’t be tempted. But if you’re going to buy books, this is the time to buy them! You will hear from many of the authors there, get to know them, and will kick yourself if you miss the opportunity to have them sign their book that you inevitably buy. And a book signed by its author is a treasure to give someone for Christmas.

Your work in progress. It’s always useful to have a sample of your work with you. You can apply some of what you learn straight away, or you may decide to take the opportunity to see an editor, publisher or consultant once you are there. Some are willing to take walk-up appointments. (Note this will cost you $30 per appointment and the consultant will not be able to pre-read any of your work).
There is also opportunity to come aside to one of the lounge rooms and join 'bootcamp' to work on your current writing project. Mentors will be available to help you free of charge should you want to take advantage of the opportunity.

How to plan:

It’s worth looking at the program on the website.

Decide which workshops you cannot miss. Then allow yourself to be flexible with the others. Once you arrive you may find you connect with a particular author and want to hear their presentation, or you may discover you actually need to brush up on certain techniques a presenter is speaking on.

Remember you don’t have to attend a workshop every session! Sometimes it’s better to get the rest you need or catch up with other people to make the best use of your time. A tired, overwhelmed writer suffering information overload will not get as much out of a workshop as they could. Better to take time to be refreshed and ready to learn again.

Be ready to look for mentors and networking opportunities. 
The Christian authors I have met at conferences are so different from other authors. They are not self-seeking and they are ready to share their wisdom and experience. I have come away from conferences with mentors, prayer supporters and writing friends who understand me like no other people can. Also be ready to share your own experiences. You have so much to offer because no other person’s writing journey is exactly the same as yours!

Make time for reflection. If possible, set aside time after conference to process. If you are travelling, this could be on the way home. If you live nearby, you may need to set aside some time. I can guarantee you will come away from conference with a head and heart full of much which needs to be prayerfully thought through and processed. Looking back over your notes and writing a plan for the next steps you need to take is a good idea.

Join with others in prayer. We have three people designated for prayer ministry at conference. Jo Wanmer, Anusha Atukorala and Anne Hamilton are all available for you, so feel free to approach them. Conference can be a spiritual battle ground. Our God is all-powerful and loves us. Let’s not become so involved in learning how to use our gifts that we forget to communicate with and spend time with the one who gave us the gifts!

Jo Wanmer
Anusha Atukorala
Anne Hamilton















  How to be mentally and spiritually ready

Be the you God made you to be! Watching professional authors with years of experience can be intimidating and make room for self-doubt and discouragement. By all means, learn from the way a published author interacts, speaks and presents themselves, but remember we are individuals and God has given each of us special, unique gifts and individual stories to share.

One of the bootcamp lounge rooms
Remember God’s plans are so much greater than your dreams. My first conference left me crushed. I didn’t know near as much as I thought I did. My book wasn’t the quality it could have been. My traditional publisher wasn’t really traditional and I’d spent a lot of money I shouldn’t have. I was ready to give up. But from that point I handed it all completely to God and He used it all for His glory and built me up, directed me, gave me greater opportunities than I ever dreamed.

Naomi Reed - keynote speaker

Know you are likely to be overwhelmed. But remember that being overwhelmed is not necessarily a bad thing. It means God has opened your eyes to greater, bigger things. Not to discourage you, but to enrich, enable and encourage you in the direction He wants you to go. Maybe He is changing your direction, or maybe He is encouraging you on toward excellence.

Don’t make any major decisions at conference or immediately after. Unless you have clearly heard God’s voice I would encourage you to take time to seek God before making any major decisions. You will be tired and have information overload. You will possibly be riding an emotional rollercoaster. Let God speak into your heart and give you His perspective despite the ‘noise’ of conference.

Be aware that everyone is human – even multi-published authors and publishers. There may be some people who disappoint you. Ask God to help you be forgiving but discerning. Take it as an opportunity to learn what not to do or say to others. God used one ‘disappointment’ for me to direct me into a better path He had for me. I was ready to sign up with a publisher who offered me an assisted self-publishing deal. Then he disappointed me by verbally attacking another publisher and showing his ignorance during a panel discussion. And God used that to direct me to the other publisher. Perhaps a mistake on his part, a disappointment to me, but something God used.

May God bless and use you this conference to build His Kingdom, 
encourage His people and bless His heart!




Submitted by Jenny Glazebrook. Jenny is a conference committee member, author, inspirational speaker, wife, mother, and above all else, a forgiven, adopted child of God.

30 comments:

  1. Great, practical advice Jenny. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Looking forward to conference- and to catching up with you!

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    1. Still can't believe I only met you last year at conference. What special friendships can be made! Yes, can't wait to catch up.

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  2. A good list of things to remember. Looking forward to seeing you there, Jenny.

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    1. Not long to go! Yes, looking forward to seeing you, too. Hope all is going smoothly with your workshop preparation.

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  3. Yes, great, practical advice as Carolyn said. Thanks Jenny for sharing all these tips. I'm so looking forward to meeting so many who I've know over the internet for a while now.

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    1. So pleased you can come! You're one of the people I recognise from the internet - I look forward to meeting you in person. It's funny how you can feel you know people when you've never met them in person.

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  4. Jenny, this is a great post - thank you! You've covered everything I would have said, and more.

    I'm looking forward to the conference so much! I've got a busy two weeks ahead, so it will be a great opportunity to change pace and renew friendships. And learn!

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    1. Glad it seems to be covered - I'm very happy for people to add anything in the comments if they can think of anything else! Hope your next two weeks go smoothly despite the busyness. And yes, I'm very much looking forward to it, too. See you soon!

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  5. Wonderful, practical points and excellent advice here, Jenny--thanks so much! I love your honesty too that shines through in lots of places. God bless--and see you at the conference!

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    1. Very much looking forward to seeing you, Jo-Anne - and of course purchasing your new book!

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  6. Great advice Jenny. And great to see that there are some designated prayer ministry warriors too. Always good to remember that we're in a spiritual battleground with our writing. Looking forward to seeing you, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones :)

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    1. Thanks Nola. Looking forward to seeing you, too. I always know wherever there is laughter, Nola is in the vicinity : )

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  7. This is excellent. Such good advice, Jenny. Thanks for setting it out so clearly and for being so very real about it. I found myself looking at the different workshops and thinking which, when, who, why ...? Then an overwhelming sense of 'don't worry, just be there and go with the flow' came over me. Your post has confirmed that beautifully.

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    1. So pleased, Mazzy. Looking forward to seeing you there. Hope the time is one of blessing and encouragement for you!

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  8. Terrific post, Jenny, and the photos are great, too :)

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    1. Thanks Susan. Appreciated your ideas for the post and found the photos on a CD you gave me last year. I think we're all a pretty good team : )

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  9. Great post Jenny and very practical. Looking forward to catching up with everyone and meeting those I've not met face to face but feel I've known for ages anyway.

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    1. It is special meeting those we feel we know via Facebook. We all wear name tags which helps! I look forward to seeing you in person.

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  10. Fabulous, practical post, Jenny. And it's only two weeks away! Yay!!!

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    1. Thanks Andrea. Yes, coming up fast. Can't wait!

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  11. Great post, Jenny. Looking forward to seeing you soon. :-)

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    1. I have a feeling I'm on registration table with you, Rose? It will be so good to see you.

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  12. Great post, Jenny. Looking forward to seeing you soon. :-)

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  13. Thanks for your honesty and insights Jenny.

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    1. Thanks Ruth. Are you going to be there this year? I've missed you at the last few conferences.

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  14. REally thoughtful and practical suggestions. I'm going to file them for the year I CAN make it to the conference!

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  15. thank you Jenny for your practical advice. i went to every workshop i could the first time i went - information overload doesn't begin to describe it!! I planned better the next year and got more out of the weekend. look fwd to seeing you again!

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  16. What a great post Jenny. I'm so sorry I missed it. Thank you for sharing your wisdom - you covered all bases and I loved it all. Looking forward very much to connecting with you and many others. Thank you for the warming up you've given us through your wonderful post! See you soon. :)

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  17. Thanks for your valuable article, Jenny. It is filled with Godly wisdom, xx

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