I love that British Airways commercial that has some guy standing in the middle of a deserted street screaming for someone to answer him. For many of you, this is what you will experience in the coming week as many of your fellow writers head to D.C. for the conference. I want to stress though, you can continue your writing and be very successful during this period of time. I want to also stress that, although you might have missed this conference, there are always other conferences. Finally, I want to stress that maybe this year, the conference is not what you need. Let’s talk about each of those, but for the sake of stirring thing up, I’m taking the list backwards.
THE CONFERENCE IS NOT WHAT YOU NEED I have always said that the national conventions such as this are for those really ready to make that jump to professional writer, or for those that are already there. Sure, there are a lot of craft sessions you can attend and yes, the board meetings are fun (at least this year it sounds like it), and sure the social side is great, but it is still work. This is a professional organization with professional writers doing professional things. One of my writers, for example, is not going this year. For her, the reason is simple. She had nothing new to promote (her next round of books is due out in 2010 and cover art is still in the works), deals are already sealed with her two editors, and finally, she had some other deadlines to meet and it was easier to write from home. Makes sense. The key is to remember, just because everyone else is going does not mean you have to go.
THERE ARE OTHER CONFERENCES Look, I am going through a bit of withdrawals this year. I haven’t missed a conference since I first opened the agency. This was the first year off, but I know I have other conferences. I plan on going to
FINALLY – MAKE USE OF THE TIME The reason I left this for last is to give you that motivation you need. Think of it this way. The chat groups will be quiet. You may have cancelled critique sessions. Your friends are not going to call you. Consider this ME TIME and write. Go to work. Essentially, you have one week worth of time that is yours to do with as you wish.
I should also stress that there are a ton of groups doing things for the “writers that were left behind.” I’ll be blogging on the 14th on the South Carolina Writers Weekend Blog on the 14th. Take advantage of those opportunities.
I guess finally, I would have to add that maybe you have been working really hard all year on your writing. Use this as time to remember your family and other hobbies. When I decided to take the summer off, I also knew I would have time to do things with the family. I still do the Greyhaus Literary Agency business stuff while the kids are asleep. I’ve already called publishers, I have answered emails, I have worked on submissions and proposals, and yes, I continue to do that all day. But, I have time to take my daughter to ballet, my two older kids to swim team, my middle daughter to the stables to ride or do horse shows, and in the evening, I am back in the theatre. This week I’m wrapping up tech week on Midsummer Nights Dream which opens this weekend (and yes, I auditioned for a musical to wrap up the summer).
The key is to realize that the conference is not the end all be all. You can be successful. And finally, I do want to stress that if $$ is the factor, which for many it will be for a while, remember that things will change. The conference might be in an area that is cheaper to get to. Air fares may change. Or simply, start putting away the money, month by month for the trip.
See you this week on the internet. And for those of you at the conference. Send me some TwitPix!
Scott C. Eagan