Newsletters

January 17 - Week Two Assignment and Newsletter
Tuesday, January 17, 2023 by Cindy Sproles

You are Acceptable - even if auto-correct hates you!

I think I want to move my words of encouragement UP in this newsletter because it's necessary. So, let me begin with this from the Word:
 
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay                                                                                                   UNACCEPTABLE

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. - 2 COR 8:12 (NIV)

I'm a worrier. In fact, I sent my agent a note yesterday to let him know my edits were completed and turned in to the publisher. He needs to remain in the loop, and as I finished my email to him, I added the line, "I hope this time, it's acceptable."

Now there's a fast story behind that line. When you turn in your completed manuscript in to a publisher, their managing editor makes a read-through and notes issues or holes that might cause a problem. Per your contract, advance payments are not given until they feel your manuscript is "acceptable." 

I don't know anyone who has ever turned in a perfect manuscript. Most always, editors come back with a few easy tweaks or suggestions, and once you make those, the manuscript breezes through. My manuscript came with the words, Nice job...love this...love that...but not acceptable. I nearly died. NOT ACCEPTABLE. There are numerous reasons it may not be acceptable. Perhaps it requires a huge rewrite, or maybe there is some controversy in the manuscript that might cause issues. It can also be a method used to put off payment of advance for a short time for the publisher. In any case, no one likes to see NOT ACCEPTABLE stamped on their lifejacket. My edits came, and there was no big rewrite. No major issues. Just a few little things that needed, literally, a line or two to fix or clarify. Yet, the words, not acceptable stuck in my throat.

I worked diligently to get the few edits listed corrected and then returned them to the editor and let my agent know I'd completed the task. That's when I said, "I hope this time, it's acceptable." My agent came back and responded with one line. "Have I told you, you worry too much?"

He's right. I do. I work hard to make sure things are done well. The same is true for this conference. I want things to be great for you. I want to know that we have cleared the way for God to speak to your heart when you leave the Cove. So, yeah...I worry.

Today, I was hit with a vast array of shockers. Things that came out of the blue and took me back. There was no ill intent in the things that came my way except that they were incomplete. I called a wonderful new friend. She's an amazing Christ-follower and one who has become a compass to help me see due north. My call to her was simple, "Sue, I need to understand this worry and this incompleteness."  So, we talked together, and I laid out the various things that had broadsided me. The things I didn't understand and wondered if I was being petty or requiring too much. She came back with this scripture. As I studied it, I realized Paul, a few verses earlier, said this...I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. Wow, were my love and expectations outta wack? 

My heart came into compliance with the Word, and I realized the gift I was given was acceptable. Now a bit later, Paul notes that completion of those things is important, but the fact is, the gifts given were given in the right spirit. Did I experience a tiny bit of "attack?" I think so. But I am armed with the goodness and acceptance of Christ to discern and accept, then complete. 

As you write - as you work on this dream to be a writer, it's important to work with the right heart. Accept your gifts and try not to be a ME, and worry. Accept, work, complete. You cannot move forward with your writing until you do these three things. Accept the call. Work to do the assignment. Complete the work. And know that Christ is not finished with you yet. 

I am far from perfect. Lord knows I foul up frequently. I allow my heart to get smashed when it's not personal. I fail to accept the gifts. But then, I recognize that and make the effort to address it. I encourage you to recognize the hardships thrown at you and then ask God to walk you through to a complete understanding. He will. Until that time. Do not be discouraged but be strong in the Lord for He is unfailing.

Said in Great Love,
Cindy

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On Campus Room has opened up - If you are off campus and would be interested in moving on campus, we have a conferee who is offering her room up due to a change of plans. The cost difference will be $266. If you are interested in this on-campus room, please let me know. First come, first serve. Contact me at [email protected].

2) Mentoring appointments - Terri has a few mentoring appointments left, but only a few. Billy Wayne and Lori Marett have slots. Don't let their expertise scare you. They are solid writers and they can help you. We also have some critique appointments available with Denise Loock. And there are a couple of other faculty members Terri is checking with.

3) Refunds - Our cancellation/refund policy is listed on our registration page. After Dec. 31 there are no refunds. I do my best to sell your spot, but if I cannot, there is no refund from here forward. If I can sell your slot, please be kind, open a free VENMO or Zelle account so the purchaser can pay you directly. Help me help you and open a VENMO account if you have to cancel. 

NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT TO ALL CONTEST ENTRANTS: PAY ATTENTION!
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY ENTERED THE ADVANCE THE KINGDOM DEVOTION CONTEST - PAY CLOSER ATTENTION. EMAIL YOUR ENTRY TO ANDREA MERRELL at [email protected] . Even if you have sent it to Cindy, email it again to Andrea.  WE DON'T WANT TO MISS ANYONE'S ENTRY. So EVEN IF YOU HAVE EMAILED IT TO CINDY, resend it to [email protected] . I REPEAT IN RED: RESEND YOUR DEVOTION ENTRY TO ANDREA MERRELL EVEN IF YOU HAVE SENT IT TO CINDY.


Our site now has the CONFERENCE UPDATE PAGE live. Go here to check on information for check-in, appointments, bookstore. All your needs. I recommend you check it frequently because any changes will be noted here.

Housing on Campus:  We are slated to stay in Shepherd's Inn which is the Inn directly beside the Training Center. This is awesome because you are just steps away from the Training Center, and off-campus folks can drive up to the parking lot. When you arrive at the Cove on Friday, you cannot check into your room until after 3 pm. YOU WILL DRIVE UP, PARK, AND GO INSIDE SHEPHERD'S INN and get your name badge. You cannot enter the training center 3rd floor without your badge. Leave your luggage in your car. You will have time after the early bird classes to go back to Shepherd's Inn and get your room key. MEMORIZE THIS!

Off-Campus folks...You will drive up to Shepherd's Inn and get your name tag. Then park in the lot above the Training Center. You must get your name tag before entering the Training Center. If you are being dropped off, drop off at Shepherd's Inn, get your badge, and walk next door to the training center. Pick-ups can be in front of the training center, but I recommend you text your ride and have them arrive just in time to pick you up. The buses will be running from Pilgrims Inn, and they need that drive under at the training center.

Early bird classes start at 1 p.m. You may come on campus at 11 a.m. Get your name tag and then visit the Billy Graham Chapel or the downstairs rotunda and bookstore at the Cove. Classes begin at 1:00 on the 3rd floor. Please do not go to the 3rd floor until 12:30. Help the bottleneck of folks on the 3rd floor.

To Get to the Conference: You'll take the elevator in front of the HUGE fireplace at the main entrance to the training center, to the 3rd floor where you'll be greeted by our bookstore staff and some faculty. We'll show you where to go from there for your early bird classes. Please DO NOT ARRIVE PRIOR TO 11 a.m. The Cove is not prepared for an influx of folks since they are checking other conferences OUT. Help keep down the chaos. :)

FACULTY BOOKSTORE - We will have a bookstore available to you with our faculty books, cd's and other sundries. We encourage you to browse the bookstore and make a purchase. Grab the faculty member whose book you purchase and let them sign it. Your purchases not only help our faculty (who we only pay in M&M's and peanuts) but again, you will be providing scholarship funds for next year.

Remember our MISSION - The Bob Box - any donations you make will be divided between the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and our Moore Square mission work.

MP3's will be available:  YOU DO NOT SIGN UP FOR OUR CLASSES. We have Step Up and Step Out. The Step Up classes are geared toward newer writers while the Step Out classes are geared toward the more seasoned writer. BUT, you can attend either one. We recommend you pick a track and stay in it, but we can't force that. INSTEAD, prepare to buy the MP3s. We will record all the classes and keynotes. So if you miss a class in person, buy the MP3s and have the full conference teaching sessions forever. Plus, when you purchase the MP3s you are helping provide scholarships for next year. MP3s are $45.

15-Minute appointment sign-up will be Friday night. Terri will fill you in Friday night at our general assembly.

Your second extended class blog is available. It will be an assignment and blog by Andrea Merrell. It's about Creative Non-Fiction. For the next few weeks we want to offer you a few additional teaching tools. When we have such a small amount of time at the conference, we want to do our best to equip you as much as we can. Today, Andrea introduces you to creative non-fiction. So check out the blog at www.ashevillechristianwritersconference.com.

Remember that our schedule can change according to the number of conferees throughout the Cove.  Just a heads up.

Keep a look on your watch. Once we get rolling, we are on a very tight schedule! It doesn't have room for dawdling.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THOSE CRITIQUE APPOINTMENTS:  Please do not use your critique appointment to pitch your work. The faculty member doing your paid critique has spent time reading and making suggestions on your work. This is not the time to pitch your work in hopes of gaining an agent of contract. This is the time to listen to the suggestions you have paid to have made on your work. There will be 15-minute appointments available for you to pitch, also meal times and times when we are able to chat. Don't use your critique appointment to ignore the time and effort given to your submitted work by that faculty member.


WEATHER - The weather in February is always iffy. However, we have never had snow. (Well, one year ...like 14 yrs ago. But the roads were cleared within hours.) God has been faithful to us year after year by holding the weather at bay. Just know that if it should snow, Asheville has roads cleared in hours. They're accustomed to snow in the winter. It's nothing for you to worry over. We just ask you continue to pray for good weather and safe travel.


AGAIN - I simply ask that you pray over this conference. Pray for safety, good weather, and for those who are attending. Pray for good health. For God to show up and show us His might and power. Praise Him for the success He has provided thus far. Pray for divine appointments and for the efforts that have been made on your behalf and from you. Ask God to show up and show out. We love His presence and we pray first and foremost for that to be in the forefront. Pray for peace and for the enemy to be thwarted away.
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