Let’s Go To She Speaks!

This post was originally published in 2016.
It has been updated with links and information related to She Speaks 2017. 

The writer’s life can be very lonely.  Lots of time spent behind a keyboard, family and friends who support your ministry but don’t understand your passion for words.   But every summer and fall, at conferences all across the country, we get the opportunity to be with our people for a time set aside to network, learn to hone our craft, and have an opportunity to present book proposals to literary agents and publishers.

Feeling called to write, speak or lead? Let's go to the She Speaks Conference together! FREE Printable checklist to track all the things to do. Registration is now open for my very favorite conference, the She Speaks Conference hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries.  Offering both Speaking and Writing tracks, plus some additional sessions for everybody, She Speaks is always a great time of fun, connecting with friends, learning, and most importantly, worship and growth. Nothing will set a fire in your soul for ministry like She Speaks.

But oh my goodness … when I signed up for my first conference, I had NO IDEA all.the.things needed to prepare for She Speaks, or any of the other conferences this summer such as Declare, ReNew or one of the local conferences.  It can make your head spin!!! With a long to-do list to get ready, it’s easy to be caught up in the frenzy, thinking you have to do it all. Or worse yet, putting it off until three weeks before the conference and trying to jam it into your already busy schedule.

So let’s prepare together. The first Monday of every month between now and July we’ll focus on a few things to do that month to get ready. We’ll cover the logistical things like travel and reservations, plus great “been there – done that” tips from past conference goers on writing a book proposal for a publisher appointment,  preparing for a networking group or writing critique, and just preparing your heart for the experience in front of you.

If you are planning to go to any of these conferences , here are the four things you need to do in March to prepare.

1. Get prayed up

Before I went to my first conference, Melissa Taylor gave me the best one sentence of advice. She said,

“Be prepared for God to do anything at She Speaks.”

She was right. God did a lot of “anything” in my heart and in my life leading up to and during the week of She Speaks.

Start praying now for an open heart and open mind for whatever God wants to do in you and through you this year. It may not be what you expect. It may bigger and much grander than you could ever imagine. Or maybe quiet confirmation of where you’re going. It could be a painful redirection to a new place or an old trampled dream may come to life again. But whatever it is, God will be faithful to walk through it with you. Be prepared for God to do anything.

You also need to pray for God’s protection.  Our enemy knows that God does amazing things when His girls draw close to Him. As you get deeper into preparing for this Jesus-filled opportunity, don’t be surprised when your appliances go on the fritz, gremlins infect your electronic devices and your vehicle breaks down two days after the warranty expires.  Just laugh and know that you must be right where God wants you to be.

But it’s no laughing matter when Satan saves his most vicious attack for the ones closest to our hearts … our families. He thinks your children and husband are fair game for physical ailments, bouts of rebellion and a crisis of faith.  Put on your armor every day, girls, and cover your family.  God desires for them to thrive through your ministry.

On a personal note, the battle has already started for me.  While writing this post and creating the checklist below, large chunks of them disappeared before my eyes and had to be re-written.  #thestruggleisreal

2. Register

12804218_10154013656799243_983328242_nRegistration is now open for She Speaks but it fills up fast. Be sure to register soon if you plan to go, or you may find yourself on the dreaded waiting list.

When you register, you may be asked to select a track for speaking or writing and you’ll be able to pick the sessions you want to attend.

Don’t get too hung up on this right now, because you can change your track and your session anytime up until a cut off date sometime in June. And you don’t have to stay within your track …  speakers can do writing track sessions and writers can do speaking track sessions.

New for 2017

There are no speaker groups in 2017.  Instead, the Proverbs 31 team will be offering networking groups where you can connect with people in the same interest area as you.  No prep needed for these groups … just come and find some of your people!

3. Travel and logistics

This is an important one because it is the single biggest expense in addition to the registration fee. I understand that the rooms at the conference hotel,  Embassy Suites, are already booked up for the weekend, but it doesn’t hurt to call the hotel anyway and check. The Travel and Accommodations page on the She Speaks website lists other great hotels that are within walking distance of the Embassy Suites. So if you are staying at one of those, don’t worry. There will be lots of other conference attendees to hang out with at your hotel.

12825324_10154013656714243_28590152_nIf you are still working out roommate arrangements, go ahead and make a reservation so you have something lined up. You can cancel most of them up until a couple of days before the conference at no charge. It’s better to have something reserved and cancel it than to be scrambling at the last minute.

If you’re planning to fly, go ahead and start looking at flight times and prices and reserve your ticket as soon as you can. The She Speaks website has information about shuttles running between the airport and the conference area you can reserve instead of getting a rental car.

4. Connect on social media

Be sure to follow the official Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference Facebook page to stay up to date on all the news. Use the hashtag #SheSpeaks2017 liberally on all platforms to connect with others going to the conference.

The She Speaks 2017 Facebook group is an unofficial group of women who are attending She Speaks. Many of them have attended in the past and will be great support as you prepare. You can find roommates and travel partners.  And no promises, but you also might see some of your favorite Proverbs 31 Ministries writers and speakers pop into the group occasionally to encourage you.

Just a little warning though. There are women who are at all places in their writing and publishing journeys in the Facebook group. It may be overwhelming when you see people who are so much more prepared.  They already have their proposals done,  a cute website and nifty business cards and a fancy speaker sheet.  They seem to have it all together. Remember most of that stuff is optional depending on your purpose for going to She Speaks.

Don’t let the craziness overwhelm or discourage you. Sometimes you may need to just turn the notifications off and give it a rest.  Learn from others in the group because they love to support each other, but be discerning about what applies to you and what doesn’t.

When you get to She Speaks,  it is fun to put bodies with all of those little profile picture heads. It’s like having  brand-new best friends in a strange place!

So that’s the plan for March.  Get all your logistical details in place and pray, pray, pray. Join me back here the first Monday of every month for your step by step plan.  I can’t wait to meet you under the Carolina blue skies!

RESOURCES

Checklist promoDownload this month-by-month checklist to prepare for She Speaks. The first Monday of the month, we’ll gather here for information and tips on the things for that month.


I'll also add you to my weekly newsletter to receive more free resources!

Visit my Services page if you’d like some one-on-one help.

SAVE THE DATE

On Monday May 1, I’ll host a She Speaks blog linkup where you can share your experience as a past participant.

It can be an old post you wrote right after you returned, or something new as you reflect on what God has done since you went to She Speaks.

I’m looking forward to hearing your stories and know they will be so helpful to our first-timers!

RESPOND

Are you planning to go She Speaks or one of the other amazing conferences? What part of the preparation has you the most frazzled?

Thanks to BethAnn Foro from She Believes for the use of her pictures from She Speaks 2015!

Linking up with Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart and Crystal Storms at #IntentionalTuesday

30 thoughts on “Let’s Go To She Speaks!

  1. This is my first time attending and I heard about it from a friend who attended for the first time last year. Aside from the constant watch for discounted airline tickets, the thing that nearly sent me over the edge, what making the actual decision. There are so many crazy things that go through your mind when you make a huge decision to move forward in God’s design for you. I knew it would require me to be accountable.

    I believe the next thing will be putting together a proposal. I’m trying not to thing about it yet, but when I get to it, it will require lots of prayer and coffee.

    I will say, I did not anticipate the sisterhood that is built from this conference. That alone is slightly overwhelming. It is also very encouraging to know that not only do I have my sweet friend’s support, but I also but the support of all these other women and the accountability that goes with it. What a gift.

    • I’m so excited about your first She Speaks, Missy! You are so right … the She Speaks sisterhood is a unique part of the experience. Don’t stress too much about that book proposal. There are a lot of resources to help you get that done, including the amazing conference call series from P31. We’ll talk about some of those things in the April post. I hope you’ll be back!

  2. What a great resource! This would have been so helpful before my first She Speaks last year. The community that comes from this conference is still going strong and one of the greatest benefits of going, aside from all the amazing teaching and encouraging from Proverbs 31!! God willing, I’ll head back next year!

  3. Love, love, love this Christa!! I learned my lesson last year with all the prep that is necessary…start preparing now I keep telling myself! And I am. Your series is perfectly timed to help with that!! 🙂

    I’m excited to follow along with your monthly encouragement and timeline for getting it all done! …and for your accountability through our coaching calls!!! Thank you!

  4. I will be a first-timer at She Speaks this year as well. I have been planning for this since last Summer (when I was on the wait list)- but that didn’t prevent my nervous indecision as soon as 2016 registration opened.

    Isn’t it selfish (to spend that kind of money on myself)? Am I too______ (I put old but you fill in the blank for yourself) to make my writing/speaking dream a reality? Woops….the writing workshop I wanted is closed: that must be God telling me this is not my year to attend.

    But I pushed past it all… and registered (enrolling on the speaker track which is also part of my call)… and…as soon as I took that first step…everything fell into place.

    So…toes in the water, Sisters. (I hope to meet you there)

    • ME TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been planning since I was wait listed last year as well, and still nervous about the decision this year. I signed up for Speaker Track last year, and surprised myself by signing up for Writer Track this year!
      Look forward to meeting you! I’m AJ Romero on Facebook.

      • Hey April!! I recognize your name from OBS! I can’t wait to meet you at She Speaks. This is going to be so.much.fun. Is it July yet???

  5. Christa,
    I am so thankful you are hosting this series! This will be my first time at She Speaks and I am incredibly excited, but I’m also not sure what to expect. What a gift you are giving us first timers!! In advance, thank you for your time and love in preparing these posts. Hopefully, I will get to meet you at She Speaks!
    Blessings!

    • Absolutely, Leigh Ellen! I hope the tips are helpful to you as you prepare. I think the key is to start early and do a little at a time.

  6. Christa, This is awesome!! As a first year attendee last year I thought it crazy, beyond belief, how so many left so much to the very end. So much self made insanity that was not needed. I’m not in a place to do a book proposal yet but I am so grateful for these monthly tasks that are simply put to make the preparation process so doable. Thank you and God Bless you my friend!!

  7. What great counsel you’re offering here, especially about prayer! The one I often forget! It makes sense to pray deeply over something we put such a financial investment into.

    I went two years ago and wish I’d seen this. I didn’t reserve my hotel until May, and was sorry I’d waited that long. Can’t go this year. Will be back in the Middle East after May 20th.

  8. I’m so excited about going but also very nervous for several reasons. The first being is this my calling from God. I have been praying about it and everything seems to be falling in place so I’m learning to not listen to that devil. He loves to tell me my family can’t handle it while you are gone, but I know they can. It’s not like I’m going far. It’s only about 3 to 3 1/2 hours from me.

    Since I haven’t worked in a few years, I’m worried about outfits and what to wear. I’m sure you will cover this in the upcoming months.

    Oh yeah, and I can’t wait to room with my “friends”. It’s going to be so much FUN!!!!

  9. I hope to attend eventually as well ~ I will be following along with you and maybe it will give me a boost in my travel planning for when God opens the door! Plus I am sure to glean other relevant and wise things I am sure. Thanks for taking the time to write this and –er–rewrite even after the delete issue!

  10. Christa thank you so much for getting these resources out there! It’s really comforting to have another veteran show the newbie around! I was on the waiting list this year, and they contacted me last Friday to see if I was still interested. This will be my first year! I’m so excited to experience the great things I’ve heard about. However, I have an interesting story.

    I was writing my first guest post and I had struggled with my piece all day. Every writer knows this frustration. I gave my ears to God for Him to guide me, and I listened with my full heart. The guest post I was writing was about what it’s like being a mom after the loss of a baby. As you can imagine, I am very passionate about helping other moms restore their faith in God. My emotions were flying all over the place, and I couldn’t pull all the strings together. After I thought I had the final product I handed it to my husband to read. I could tell my high hopes for the article were about to me crushed.

    I cried in frustration thinking, when will I ever get this right. I’m a horrible writer. Why did God ever call me to write? I’m not going to finish this! I’m giving up. In the midst of my anger, I told myself I won’t be going to She Speaks. I don’t feel it’s my time this year.

    Then I picked up my emotions and drove them through my writing. I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to keep trying even if my best was not good enough. I handed my computer to my husband the second time, and he said, “This is it.”

    He told me to open my email and there it was, my invitation to She Speaks!

    Don’t ever give up ladies! Even when you feel you are at your worst. If God called you to write, He wants you to write. If God called you to speak, he wants you to speak! Keep moving forward and He will be right there working in the background! Don’t ever give up because you feel your not good enough, or you see someone else progressing faster than you. Focus on our one true Savior!

    I’m so grateful to be meeting you ladies this year! Thanks again Christa for all the helpful tips!

    • Whitney, thank you so much for sharing your story! God has a big plan for you at She Speaks. It might be related to your writing, it could be something in your heart, or a connection he wants you to make. But whatever it is, He has a reason for you to be there, so don’t miss it! I can’t wait to meet you there!

  11. Love this! Thanks for sharing. It is so true, our first line of defense and attack on offense must be prayer! I have learned the hard way, so thank you for the consistent reminder 🙂
    My first year attending, no publisher appointments and in many ways it relieves the pressure and anxiety. My mindset has shifted to “how much can I soak in and learn this year” instead of “I need to find the right publisher/opportunity.” I am trusting God to do His thing and working on being faithful in what He has asked me to do right now.
    Looking forward to the rest of the series.

    • That is really smart, Natalia. You will be so full of what you can learn your first year. Looking forward to getting to know you!

  12. This will be my second year at She Speaks- oh how I wish I had known about this series last year! Thanks for doing this! Excited to meet more writing friends! Even though I went last year, I’m still nervous…but more excited! Thanks so much! 💜

  13. Oh my gosh! What a great reminder to me to go to Him in prayer. I’m going to be attending she speaks for the first time and just the financial part was scary and overwhelming. I booked my hotel and conference and then realized there is no transportation from the charlotte airport, so I had to bite the bullet and get a rental car. Ugh! the costs just keep piling up was my thought pattern, Which caused me to doubt why I was even going. I’m new to blogging, can’t figure out the setting up of my web page beyond the basics, then my writing critiquing. It is all mind boggling. Oh that spiral I was traveling down on stopped immediately upon reading your blog post. Thank you for coaching us newbies and I look forward to more 😊

    • JoAnn … you can probably cancel that rental car. If you hang around in the facebook group, there will be ride sharing posts closer to the conference where you can arrange to share a car or a shuttle with someone else. If you are staying at the Embassy, there is no need for a car once you get there. Look forward to meeting you!

Leave a Comment