My 2010 Conference Plans

Every year around the time of the RWA National conference, some of the experienced published authors in my chapter advise those of us who might be attending to think about our conference goals — why we’re attending and what we want to accomplish while we’re there. For some odd reason, hanging out at the bar doesn’t qualify.

My goal at my first RWA conference was merely to survive the experience. I went just to get a feel for what all a national conference entailed. It was overwhelming. And it was easy, in retrospect, to see the wisdom of narrowing one’s focus and setting goals. If for no other reason than to avoid that slack-jawed, deer in the headlights look so common to first time attendees.

That was a few years ago and I’ve been thinking it might be time to attend another conference. But I’ve been procrastinating and feeling indecisive about which one (maybe two?) to attend. There are so many of them.

Then I started asking myself about my conference goals. Why was I going and what did I hope to accomplish? What are the possibilities?

1) The conventional attitude of, “well, it seems like time” or “everyone else is going to conference,” aren’t even valid reasons, let alone plausible goals. Not when I have limited vacation days and an even more limited budget.

2) I could attend workshops — learn about craft or marketing or publishing. But I’m at the point right now that I don’t think I can absorb any more knowledge. The past couple years have been learning intensive and I’m feeling saturated. I’m not saying I know all there is to know, far from it, but it’s time for me to slow down the input for a while.

3) There are dozens of writers I’ve talked to on the internet whom I’d love to meet in person, but while that’s nice on a personal level, it’s not a professional goal.

4) There are agents and editors I’d like to meet and have a chance to chat with informally to get a feel for who they are and what they might be like to work with. But since I don’t have a completed polished manuscript ready to submit, there doesn’t seem to be much point. That’s not an impression I want to make.

Given the limitations, what would be the best decision in terms of accomplishing professional goals? I was stymied.

Until a couple weeks ago when I’d had a miserable few days at work and at home and everything seemed frustrating or annoying and all I could think was, “I need to get away. I need to find some solitude.” Actually, that thought cycles through my head on a regular basis, but usually I get over it and re-focus on what needs to be done.

This time I couldn’t shake it. The conviction grew stronger and developed into, “I need to get away. Find some solitude. And write.” It started sounding like a goal. A good goal.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

I’m leaving today, right after I hit “publish” on this post. I’m taking a week of vacation and going to the beach. All by myself. To find some peace and solitude. To clear my head and recharge my mental batteries. To take the time to write, just write, without interruptions or demands.

Setting goals is important. It’s just as important to be honest about where you are in relation to where you want to go, and what it will take to get there. And to acknowledge that the path others follow may not be the best route for you. This year, for me, that means no conferences. Right now, that’s a plan that makes me happy.

Okay . . . copy, paste, publish . . . that’s it, I’m gone!


Filed under creativity, goals, health and well-being, writing

38 responses to “My 2010 Conference Plans

  1. Refresh. That’s always a good goal, a most excellent goal.

    I’m not going to Nationals untill I have an agent. I can always troll for an agent at the local conferences or with a query. And althought I have all the non-paid vacation days I could ever want, like you the discretionary spending is just that…

    Have a fabulous time. Write your heart out.


  2. Peeks in, does a quick look ’round

    It’s okay, she’s gone. We can move in for awhile. Could the movers put the couch over by the fireplace? And I think the avocado shag rug would look lovely in that corner. The camel can forage in the kitchen for grub. I’m going to see if she’s got any liquor worth investigating. Then I’ll hang the mirrorball up in case anyone feels the urge to do some dancing.

    This is going to be fun!


  3. Slave Driver directs the MIK’s as they haul in the Karaoke machine, popcorn machine, and the big screen TV. Dusting off her hands she exits to go find Charlie Horse to hang with Doofus in the kitchen.

    “Nothin’ but good times ahead…”


  4. Wow. Fondue spill on aisle one. Do Spartans do clean up or do they just stand around looking Greek?


  5. Ah, but look at that fondue spilled on the Spartan. I think I’ll go clean him up. Mine, Merry. Go get your own to clean up.


  6. Slave Driver opens the door and tosses a couple giant beach balls into the mix.

    “There we go. Let’s watch the MIK’s play beach volleyball…”


  7. Ouch! Hey, SD, watch that aim, would ya?


  8. McB

    What this place really needs is a black light and some lava lamps. You know, this is just like old times.


  9. That place is looking a lot less Spartan, if you know what I mean.


  10. McB

    And yet we see much more Spartan. Less is definitely more.

    Silly string! That’s what’s in this box.


  11. A Spartan-and-Tartan silly string fight? Oh my.


  12. me

    I don’t know what kind of drinks you are serving, but they must be strong, the Spartans are wearing tartans. Which leads me to beleive that the MIK are now MWK. I really should look into this further…


  13. Diane (TT)

    OMB. I hope BCB is REALLY rested from her trip. This place has to be seen to be believed.


  14. McB

    Fondue? Mon dieu! GP is covered in the stuff. Where’s the hose?


  15. me

    One hose, coming up! Oops, um, that’s not a hose.


  16. I brought over the stripper pole. I’ll set it up over there by the juke box. Maybe one of those really tall Spartans can help install it. Then help me use it. hehehe.


  17. Mon Dieu! Snakes on a blog!


  18. Lou

    Howdy, everyone. I brought the cowboys to liven up the mix. They are in the kitchen getting acquainted with Charley Horse and Dufus.


  19. McB

    Looks like the cowboys are in competition with Doofus to see how far they can spit. And they keep missing the trash can.


  20. OH. MY. GOD.

    You all are insane. I love that about you.

    I’m going to fix myself a stiff drink and go sit on the balcony and stare at the ocean and ponder whether this means I should never again go away on vacation.. or.. do so more often.

    Seems the only sensible course of action, considering.


  21. Slave Driver takes one last spin around the place on the stolen rented, RENTED street sweeper to clean it all up…

    Just in time for round two!!!

    With the street sweeper put back where she “found” it, SD dusts off her hands, flips on the lightswitch which activates the stereo, mirror ball, black light and wig-wags, then tosses a mat covered in colored circles into the middle of the floor.

    “Twister, anyone?” She asks, pointedly looking at the MIK’s…


  22. Lou

    Go away more often…

    SD – If I remember correctly… twister involves bending over… with MIKs who wear nothing underneath??

    Should be interesting… I’M IN!!


  23. I’ve got the pop corn maker going full blast over here. I’m just going to sit back and watch the twister marathon. SD, we may need that sweeper later on to, you know, clean up all the drool…


  24. Yes, Lou, that’s correct…and occasionally due to the randomness of the Twister spin board, people are forced into precarious positions, sometimes losing their balance and ending up in a big heap on the Twister mat. Much hilarity ensues….


  25. Walker? Oh, sweeper. Well, we are equal opportunity whatever. Oh, golly gee, the popcorn is popping all over the place and into that spill of fondue. Forget the walker or sweeper, we need a CLEANER!

    Merry, dear, I’ve already said to leave my Spartan ALONE!


  26. Doofus is spitting his darts at the dart board and scoring higher than the MIK or the Spartans. Way to go Doofus. Good boy. Ooooops Doofus just found the cotton candy machine. Save that cleaner for the mess when Doofus loses it all.

    Merry I think that old couch we had on his and her blog looks pretty good in that corner. With the red light showing all the stains, it’s quite pretty I think.


  27. McB

    No Twister for me. I’m too short to reach that far. But I can take pictures! 👿


  28. WapakGram

    Wait, I found Cabana boys out back on her deck. They were grilling chicken but Doofus and Charley keep stealing it. Veggie Burgers any one?

    What? Forget the grill? Pass the Ruffles and the Beer? Nice Cabana Boys. It’s great out here. That disco ball gives me a headache…..what, oh yes, a chilled washcloth would be wonderful, Cabana Boy….ahhhhhhh.

    Come out and cool off after Twister. I think GP might have twisted her calculator on that last game. Whew! Get that McB?


  29. Chicken, veggie burgers, Ruffles and chips? Charlie Horse will eat all of it, believe me. Last month he stole a drivers cheeseburger and ate it. Paper and all.

    No, seriously, people. He will eat anything. And GP, don’t give him your Visa card, no matter how much he begs. Sure, with those big liquid brown eyes trimmed in long fringe-like lashes, he looks innocent enough, but he has an awful eBay habbit, and I have enough paintings of Elvis on black velvet, TYVM.


  30. CMS

    I met some Argentinian polo players and they gave me* a ride to the party. Anybody mind if they join us? They brought enough beverages for everyone…


  31. orangehands

    *stumbles in from the back room, silly grin on face, looking completely relaxed* Did you know there are masseuses and masseurs back there? *Slides down on the couch* Talented masseuses and masseurs.

    If someone can grab me a drink, cause I wont be getting up for awhile, thanks.


  32. Lou

    The cowboys challenge the Argentine polo players to a match…


  33. Oh My. All the manly men seem to be getting a bit sweaty. I think BCB has some towels put away somewhere. Let me just go grab them so I can help take care of all those sweaty manly chests…


  34. “Sweaty manly men?” GP rose, dumping her Spartan out of her lap and onto the floor, snatching some towels from KDot and sashaying towards a sweaty manly man in a kilt. “Let me entertain you, let me* make you smile…”


  35. Slave Driver uses the little red hammer on a chain to break the glass, behind which is a fire hose.

    “It looks like we need a wet kilt contest…”


  36. Lou

    Wet kilt?? SD – think shrinkage…


  37. Peeks her head in, looks at all the snoring bodies and general carnage, and groans

    Oh geez, guys! You were supposed to have this all cleaned up by now. She’s back! She’s going to start blogging again any week day now.

    C’mon. Wake up, Kdot. GP, put that Spartan down and pick up a broom. There’s a lot of clean up to be done. And who, may I ask, thought it was a good idea to let the camel get into the lime jello salad? I do hope that’s lime jello. Well, let’s just assume it is, for now.

    Geez, this is going to take a lotta work to fix. Maybe we should just get the firehose and wash the whole thing out onto the balcony. Then we can blame the mess on the neighbors. Yeah, that sounds like a plan. I’ll just go get the firehose…

    No worries. This place’ll be good as new. More or less. Well, maybe just a bit damp.


  38. I’ll hose down the MIKs and the Spartans. Yep. That’ll tickle their fancies. Mine, too.