Home From Conference

My excuse for not getting on top of posting anything on Monday is a general case of zombie-itis. That is, I met and chatted with so many wonderful people at RWA National Conference, that I practically feel like I’ve used up all my words. Trust me, about now, stringing a sentence together is HARD!

But, enough with complaining, because I LOVE conference (note the extra use of caps.) 😉 I got to some pretty great workshops, learned new things, and hope I can share some of what I learned by next week, when hopefully I’ll be a tiny bit more recovered.

More importantly, I met lots of terrific writers, experienced all sorts of new things, and made some new friends. I wanted to push myself this time to go out there and meet people, which even meant that I went to parties (I was out past 9pm, a big shocker for me these days!) 😉

And as I get home – perhaps you likewise have just returned from a conference or will be soon, here are a few things I like to keep in mind:

1) If you’ve collected business cards during the event, consider at the time jotting down a bit about the conversation and meeting at the time (especially if you’re notorious at forgetting names like I am.) Then, when you get home, drop that person a quick note, asking how their conference went, expressing your pleasure at meeting them, etc. You never know what kind of relationships you might build this way, and it’s worth a try.

2) If you’ve been lucky enough to meet with industry professionals who want to see your work, get it to them as soon as you can! (I’m aiming for the end of this week, since it’s conference season and summer, so their in-boxes will be full.) It’s also startling how few people actually send in the requested material – don’t be one of them!

3) Take a bit of time to absorb and breathe after all those workshops and experience, but make sure you look back at your notes and try to apply them, especially anything that really resonated with you.

4) Set some new goals, using next year’s conference (particularly if this is an annual event), or even the end of the year to keep yourself on track. Where are you now? Where do you want to be? How are you going to get there?

5) Give others who attended the conference a tiny bit of a break if they don’t respond super quick, or get their blog posts up. They’re probably just as tired as you. 😉

Any tips you’d like to share? And next week, a new post, new knowledge (when my brain starts working again.)

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.

Conference Craziness

So next week, I am officially off to the Romance Writers of America® Conference in San Antonio, Texas. I am both tremendously excited, and nervous. I mean, wasn’t it just May a minute ago? And now suddenly it’s the end of July.

My Golden Heart Pin and Invite FINALLY arrived!!
My Golden Heart Pin and Invite FINALLY arrived!!

For budget constraints (and since it’s only fair sometimes my family gets to travel instead of just me), I generally only attend Conference every second year, or at least, that’s how it’s worked out. But this year will be extra special.

First: because ever since I saw the location posted as San Antonio, way back when I joined RWA® back in, hmm, I think 2008, that’s where I wanted to go. Blame it on too many western novels and a small obsession with Texas in my earlier years. 😉

Second: this year, I’m going as  Golden Heart® Finalist. Which is pretty exciting. I’ll attend my first Golden Network Retreat. Actually got first choice of agent and editor appointments.

AND, best of all, I get to meet all my fellow finalists. Some of which have become critique partners, and it’s so strange having to much contact and trust in someone technically, you’ve never met face-to-face.

Well, them and the other couple thousand attendees. Did I mention the conference is HUGE? (Look, it deserves caps and everything). 😉 Yes, I am getting a bit goofy. Probably the result of rushing to get to this point, and suddenly almost being there, like standing on a precipice, and thinking, “huh, that’s a bit higher than I thought.”

But speaking of rushing, I still have some work to do, and it promises to be a fairly intense week of getting my writing ready, and “getting my game face on.” 😉 That is, settling down and preparing to meet lots of brand new people, see some familiar faces, and generally act a bit more like the social butterfly than I naturally am.

I love talking to people, but not about myself. Yes, I was one of those people who would rather have been in a bridesmaid’ dress at my own wedding – I’m not big on being the focus of attention. 😉

Okay, before I burble on some more, better get to work. I hopefully will post more before I leave Tuesday, and fingers crossed, lots of exciting news to share when I get home.

Are you attending Nationals this year? Let me know. I’d love to meet you. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and have a great week. 🙂

Stop and Have Some Fun: Avoiding Burnout and Unnecessary Stress

2014-03-22 22.39.37So I have a not-so-secret secret for you: too much nose to the grindstone with zero fun makes you crazy.

Yes, I know, not exactly genius. But you’d think it was. I’ve been pushing really hard to get a book ready in time for conference. Like crazy-time pushing, meaning I didn’t even take the weekend off. Every day meant thousands of words, either writing them, deleting them, or a bit of both. Which is fine, for a little while. But as my mind narrowed too much on the story, and all I could see were the two remaining chapters that weren’t working, what it translated to was me seeing the entire manuscript as not working.

Seriously, on Friday last week I almost would have printed out the entire manuscript just to start it on fire. This is not a healthy approach to my work.

So I took the weekend off. And I stewed on Friday and Saturday, felt generally miserable even as I started to play up in the craft room (I’ll post on my other blog, Craft Room Chronicles, what I was up to). And then Saturday night I decided yet again not to work, even on the critiques I owe my partners (Friday night is critique night in my world). Instead I watched the first Harry Potter movie, with all of those actors so young, just kids, and the beautiful sets that beg you to recreate them in miniature.

And suddenly I felt a lot better. The rest of the nonsense I’d been worrying about, all sorts of things I have absolutely no control over, that evaporated. Today I could go back to writing, and while completing a chapter-by-chapter synopsis, I could actually see maybe the book was, gasp, not terrible!

So again with my not-so-genius advice, which I’m ashamed to say both my husband and best friend advised (and I duly ignored and denied). Take a break. Have some fun. Your brain and mental outlook will thank you. It’s a bright beautiful world out there, and sometimes we just need a change of perspective. 🙂

Ever have that moment, where you’re just too stuck in what you’re doing to know when you need to step away?

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a great week. Happy writing!