Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Catching up at conference

I view conferences as a chance to get caught up on my creative side. I know that some folks say that conferences are wearing, and they are. And whenever I come back from RWA National in August, I'm always a bit drained. But gradually the old energy returns and I find myself full of good ideas (see clip art), trying to settle on which one to examine first.

The downside at conferences, though, is the realization that I am only one of a LOT of folks trying to be published. Even though I've signed several contracts lately, there's always something else to achieve, and no matter how conference speakers protest that 'we're not in competition with each other, there are a lot of people out there who want good books', you and I both know that there is a competition of sorts. It was intimidating to walk into the PRO Retreat and see a HUGE ballroom full of people, all with finished manuscripts, all trying to get published.

But then I realized that no, they aren't all trying to get published. No matter what RWA (or other conferences) advertise, many members aren't actively pursuing publication. Many like to write without being concerned about a publishing career, many are simply fans, and many are hoping to get published and stay published. And, frankly, I think the minority are the latter group. So I always have to remind myself of that when I look around a crowded room and think, "oh, no -- there's so many."

The other up-side to conference is seeing friends, of course. Maggie and I will be meeting for the first time at Sleuthfest (I'm looking forward to it), and I always enjoy hanging out with Judi and Donna at RWA. Angela, you've got to get there sometime! This year Lynne and Judi will be hanging out at RT. If I wasn't going to Sleuthfest the previous week, I'd consider it. So it's a great chance to renew acquaintances and get caught up.

My last conference was a bit of a disappointment. The venue was less than pleasant (a bit rundown, actually) and the conference itself wasn't very well organized. But the presentations were all well done, so I came away with food for thought.

And frozen deodorant. But you've already heard that story.


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