Writing presents a unique dilemma compared to other jobs. There are few markings of success by which to judge ourselves on along the road to publishing.
I worked at Starbucks before I had my first little one. Every day I knew exactly what needed to be done, and when. In the morning iced teas and coffees required prepping, grinders needed filling, and pastries were stocked with a set number of goodies, each placed in an enticing display. In other words, there was a clearly defined checklist, and when the list was accomplished, it felt good! Then there were the drinks. To this day I still can put my body through the motions of making a Frappuccino. Fill the Blender with ice, three pumps of white mocha, three pumps of “Frappuccino Sauce” and milk. Then I blend, pour, and finish with a beautiful crown of whip cream. I knew when I did it right because it looked beautiful, and the customer was happy (well…most of the time).
Unfortunately, writing isn’t like that, is it? Sometimes I trick myself into thinking that it is. I will happily create a checklist of chapters, scenes, and themes and feel that same sense of satisfaction as I check them off after a productive writing session is over. I try to quantify my work by setting out to write a certain number of hours or words in one sitting.
Writing attracts quiet, soft introverted people. We like to write in the dark. We like to sit by ourselves. We like to cuddle with our fur babies and muse over the worlds that we create without interruption from real life. Often, the reason we write is because its easier than talking to others and living in their busy world.
When we start growing our hobby into something more professional, we are confronted by the very extroverted truth: if you want to write professionally you must come out of your comfortable, quite places, leave your fur babies behind and… talk to people.
Writing conferences, critique groups, querying agents and (if you’re lucky enough) book signings, interviews and all the things that come with publishing are all very social oriented. The high energy demands can be taxing on us introverts. We can easily be caught in a tight cycle of anxiety- I want to be a writer because it suits all these introverted qualities I have, but because I want to be a writer I must work around those same qualities.
At least once every conference I look around myself, and think “why are we here when we would so much rather be snuggled up with our cats?”
And the answer is- it’s worth it. So worth it. And, it can be fun!
Going to a writing conference will help you meet the very people who will launch your manuscript to success. You will learn tips and strategies that will propel you from your writer’s block. Conferences give you quality one on one time with agents and publishers. Some conferences have banquets and dances and workshops where you can let your creative kite fly. There is no end to the possibilities. Still, while going to a conference is among the very best thing you can do for your writing, there are still challenges.
Conference season is upon us and if you’re especially nervous, or you dreading that feeling of exhaustion, I want to help you find ways to increase the fun. Here are a couple tips to make your experience the most enjoyable and beneficial it can be:
We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.