Saturday, June 27, 2009

My First Writer's Conference

BEFORE (last night)
There's a writer's conference in Tulsa that starts in just over an hour. It's only $60 and the topics sound really good. I really should go.

I'm terrified to go. What if I make a fool of myself? I don't have anything to wear. I have no idea what to wear, actually.

(When I commented on my lack of wardrobe in the car last night, my daughter said, "Why do you have to wear anything?")

So should I stay home, promising myself to work on my editing instead, or should I go and hope I can stay invisible and just listen?

I had a friend who was going to go originally, but she had to go to Dallas. That would have made it easier, because I would have been committed to go and I would have had someone to sit with.

When it comes right down to it, I'm very shy.

I went. I'm still alive.

Actually, it was a really good experience.

It was this:

It's for writers of inspirational books, and so far my fiction writing is all mainstream, but I figured the topics would be general enough to apply to me. I'm a Christian who writes, even if I don't write Christian books. :)

My biggest fear was that I'd have to talk to people. I hate mingling at parties, wondering who to talk to, afraid of interrupting. So I get there, and the first 30 minutes is mingling. Ack!

It was fine, though. No, I didn't get to disappear into a corner like I wanted--people came up and talked to ME! It was a little hard for me to talk about my writing, but I made myself. I don't talk about my writing much to my friends, and I thought strangers might be easier, but it wasn't.

My clothes were fine. I dressed up just a little (for me)--I wore slacks and a nice top. About half the people were dressed like me. The other half were more casual. I'm going more casual today, mainly because the temperature here has been over 100.

There was every age there, too (no kids). I saw some girls and a guy who looked like late teens or early 20's, and I saw a few women who looked like they were at least 70, and everything in between.

The speakers are a good mix--two very different authors (different genders and different genres), an agent, and a publicity person. There was also a pastor who gave a short, encouraging talk at the beginning.

I'm going back today. It's all day with lunch. I know part of the purpose of this is networking, but I'm still nervous about it. I think it will be okay, though. Last night it seemed like people actually wanted to talk to me, even after they found out I wasn't anyone important, (and even after I spilled my tea twice) and that put me at ease.

I know going to writer's conferences is good for me. But instead of taking it like medicine, I'm actually starting to feel a little guilty about the time away from home because the conference is fun!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Wrote a Novel

R has been my faithful reader for over two years now. She's been reading my novel (and giving me feedback) a chapter at a time. She's actually read the first half of it twice since I made major revisions.

My next step in this process is to print out the whole thing and take a red pen to it. I decided on a whim to call R first to see if she had the last few chapters I gave her so I wouldn't have to print out all of it--save a tree, you know.

She had every chapter. I was touched. She knew exactly where it all was, too.

So when I picked her up for our staff meeting (we work together, and she lives down the street) she carried out this file folder with this 1-1/4" stack of papers in it (yes, I measured it--I'm a dork). I was like, "Is that my novel???" I had never seen it all together like that.

I think that's the first time it really hit me--I actually wrote a novel.

It's a big stack of papers. R said it was a lot of typing. Yes, but every word of it is an expression of me. It's my imagination articulated and put on paper.

So even if it never gets published, even if only my friends and family read it, even if the agents laugh at me and tell me not to quit my day job...