No, this post has nothing to do with the series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, but when you have to miss out on a conference, it can sure feel like the end of the world. Trust me, this year I have said, “Bye, bye, have fun,” to several writer friends as they headed off to a conference. And before the year is out, I’ll be in that position a few more times.

It’s hard to get left behind. Especially when you’ve been reading about how great conferences are on certain loops and blogs.

So what’s a writer to do? How can you beat the don’t-get-to-go blues?

I have a couple suggestions.

1. Accept the disappointment, pray about the opportunities you feel you’re missing, and then move on. I know it’s hard. It’s not fair. It stinks big time. But as I tell my boys everyday, we don’t always get to do what we want to do. If we did, I’d be eating chocolate and having a pedicure right now.

2. Keep up with your critique group and ACFW chapter meetings. You can learn a lot from these interactions, maybe even more than you could at a conference. You get to know fellow writers deeply. They get to know you. And best of all, you get help and encouragement for your writing on a regular basis.

3. Have a write-in or a write-out. Get your writer friends together and head to Starbucks or Barnes and Noble with your laptops. Or host a write-in at your house. Get creative with snacks. Maybe have a writing-related game to play when everybody’s taking a break.

4. If there’s a particular presenter at the conference you really wanted to learn from, why not read their book while the conference is happening? They’ll be teaching on material from those books, and when your friends get back, you’ll be ready to discuss the techniques they (and you!) learned.

Bottom line, it really isn’t the end of the world. Although conferences are a great place to learn and advance your career, God does not need CCWC, Mount Hermon, or ACFW to execute His plans for you. Trust that He has gone before you and prepared your writing way.

And if you just can’t shake those blues come conference time, give me a call and we’ll go out for pedicures and chocolate. Unless you’re a guy. Then I’ll just hit you in the arm and say, “Tough luck, dude.”

Evangeline Denmark has storytelling on her heart and in her blood. The daughter of novelist, Donita K. Paul, Evangeline grew up living and breathing good stories. She has co-authored two children’s books which are under contract with Waterbrook Press and also writes adult fiction. Evangeline is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, serving as chapter secretary.