This week I’m off to the RWA Nationals conference. It’ll be my first time attending a writing conference (and when I tried to write the word “attending,” I initially wrote “intimidated”… Freudian slip much?!)
Writing is, by its very nature, a solitary pursuit – so going to a big convention center with hundreds of other people and talking about your writing feels…well, intimidating. But I’m excited too! Although my baby novel feels like it has a long way to go before it’s a grown-up, readable manuscript worthy of publication, I know that’s all the more reason I need to get out there – take workshops, network, meet industry professionals, and just get it out in the open that this is what I do.
I often don’t share with people that I write fiction. I get shy. I don’t feel “legitimate” calling myself a writer since I haven’t been published yet. I feel embarrassed that I write “fluffy” genre fiction, instead of “serious,” literary fiction – whatever that means. I think the best part of going to a conference might be that it will force me to admit to people that I write stories.
But the real reason I’m going – the part that makes me feel not terrified but rather giddy as a little kid – is the opportunity to learn. The workshop descriptions and panel topics sound delicious! I look at the class instructor list and squeal, seeing all my favorite authors. My main goal for the conference (because if we expect our characters to always have goals, motivations and conflicts, we should have them too – right?!) is to meet more critique partners. I’ve already experienced how invaluable feedback from the right critique partner can be, and the conference seems like a great way to meet others who are also serious and committed to the craft (just the fact that they’re here implies a level of commitment, because conferences are a big commitment of time and money.) So that’s my goal. My motivation is to learn as much as I can from everyone. And my conflict…is an entirely self-imposed and erroneous belief that I’m not a “real” writer yet. But that’s a conflict I’m working on resolving J