Conference Thoughts

conferenceI’m on vacation this week because, when I was planning my time off, I thought I would be going to the Romance Writer’s Association 2013 annual conference in Atlanta (July 17-20).

But I’m not going.

I’ve been trying to decide how I feel about that.  I’ve decided I feel ambivalent.

A part of me is sad I’m not there.  This conference is a big huge deal for romance writers, and it’s freaking awesome if you are a romance fan-girl like me.  Plus, it would have given me a chance to see people I met in 2011, and to meet new people.  I’d be able to talk to people I interact with all the time on Facebook and Twitter, and I really, really wish I was there with them.  Who knows when I’ll have a chance to see them in person again?

On the other hand, I’m pretty glad I decided not to go.  I’m feeling kind of fragile about my writing at the moment, and I’m just trying to get into a productive and professional routine with it.  You’d think it would help to attend a professional writer’s conference, but it doesn’t.  In fact, when I went in 2011 I found the conference to be a huge distraction that disrupted my writing production for months.  I’m not entirely sure why, except to say that when I’m writing – like today – I’m in a very private, interior space.  A dark, quiet place.  The conference shines bright lights into that place and it blinded me.

Understand that I’m talking about myself here.  There are people who totally thrive on the excitement of conferences.  I’m just not one of them.  I was pulled out of my comfort zone – both personally and professionally – and it took a long time to get my balance again.   But it was also a good experience.  Not only did I meet wonderful people, but eventually I was able to come to a better understanding of myself and my writing goals.

Will I go to the conference again?  Yes, I think I will.  There’s an awful lot to be gained by going – but you have to understand what’s being offered, and what you can expect to get out of it.  I’ll know more when I go the next time, and hopefully I’ll be able to manage myself and my time better.  But I’ll only go if I’m in a secure writing space.  The writing is what’s important.  The conference just supports that – no matter how big and glitzy and exciting it is.

If you’re going to the RWA conference – I hope you have fun!  And I’ll miss seeing all of you so very much.  But I’m kind of glad I’m here at home working on my book too.

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