Get Thee to a Conference!

I can’t believe that this time last week I was at SiWC sitting in a workshop called Polish and Shine led by Elizabeth Engstrom (fantastic class!). This Saturday is decidedly less glamorous and thrilling.

All this past week I rode the post conference high, but now the fuzzy glow is fading just a bit (or being blocked from my immediate view!) in the face of the dishes stacking up, the floors being in serious need of a sweep and mop (oh, my dogs–gotta love’em; wish I could shave’em!), the laundry and meals that never cease to need doing/making, and the bathroom, argh, the bathroom! Let’s just not talk about it. . . However, all grumbling and moping aside, my newly reaffirmed goals remain clear and focussed. My inspiration is freshly topped. And when I think of all I want to do, plan to do, need to do . . . Yes, I feel a bit intimidated, but even more, I feel stoked: being surrounded by 600+ writers for four days is seriously motivating.

Almost every year I hesitate before I hit submit to register for SiWC (my annual conference ;-)). Then I recall what it does for me: refuels me for another twelve months, reminds me that yes, writing is a solitary pursuit, but that I am not alone. Literally hundreds upon hundreds of other people identify with and embrace a similar madness!

Meeting with like minds (or at least similarly bent ones), being surrounded by a crowd of folks who really “get” this strange obsession you have with stories and words, and having the chance to learn from others in different places in the writing path than you–well, corny as it sounds, it’s priceless.

Not cost-free though. I’m already starting to put money away for next year, and I think you should do the same.

And less you’re not convinced you or your writing are worth the extravagance of a first conference (or a third, a tenth, a twentieth!), what am I doing right now? Sitting down to write while the house is empty and clear, dirty and in need of a clean as it is–and that’s the whole point, isn’t it? We want to be writers, so we write. We don’t need conferences to give us permission or to remind us–but they do help us remember it. If you have the chance to take part in a writer’s conference, big or small, nearby or far, I really recommend it. It makes all the time we spend in solitary sweet.

7 thoughts on “Get Thee to a Conference!

  1. So glad your time was worth while and that you’re planning to go back next year. I guess we all eventually come back to earth, and as you say there’s always dishes and laundry, etc. But we do make time for writing one way or another. 🙂

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  2. SiWC was amazing! Such a great conference. I’ve been going every other year (cuz of $$), but I don’t know if I can handle waiting ’til 2012 for the next one! Will have to find a way to make 2011 happen…. 😉

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  3. Dear Shari,

    Great to “see” you!:) And yes, SiWC WAS amazing this year. I hear you about the $$$, but it really is worth it, isn’t it? I hope you find a way to make 2011 a reality–I figure it’s early enough in the year that if I start socking pennies away now, it won’t pinch too badly come next October.

    Hope to see you by my blog again. Happy writing!

    ~Ev

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  4. I’ve been to a few conferences now (er… one conference, a few times? 😉 ) and I think the first time I went was really a turning point in my writing career. To know that it wasn’t just a few people here and there, but all those people everywhere? And to know that “real” writers were accessible, were human? Priceless for giving me both confidence and enthusiasm.

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  5. The dishes will wait. (Actually, I sometimes find that if you let them wait long enough, someone else will pitch in and do them.)

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  6. Elizabeth Engstrom is fabulous, and has become such a great friend since I met her at SIWC (she’s even offered to marry me — turns out she’s a minister in her spare time!)

    I do miss the wonderful bonding experience that is SIWC. Hopefully I’ll be able to take in a writing conference again soon. Glad you had such a great time!

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