Sunday, July 26, 2009

Of Groups and Conferences, Pros and Cons

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the first meeting of the Idaho Writers Guild. Fascinating and fun, but also amazing how much dedicated and professional talent there is in Idaho, the state with the least population of all 50. After a couple of hours, I returned home energized and invigorated about my writing career. On August 6, tomorrow, I head out to the Willamette Writers Conference for four fun-filled days of pitching agents. Or at least fun for me.

There are writers out there who despise attending any event or joining any group. Often true introverts, these authors point out that conferences and groups take away a lot of valuable writing time and energy. This can be true. The last few weeks I have been taking time to prep my manuscript, my pitch, my wardrobe, etc. and probably doing much more than I need--I'm a writer and being neurotic is required.

However, that time, for me has done several useful things. It has re-initiated and reinvigorated my enthusiasm for my craft and w.i.p. I've had myriad epiphanies about my work, both current and future. I've made a large number of wonderful, supportive contacts, fellow authors and other creative people. People who feed my creative spark, sometimes into a roaring blaze. And will meet many more this weekend. I always return from a conference energized to work and work harder, faster and more effectively than before. So for me, some group participation and some conference attendance are useful tools.

One point, don't make the groups and conferences and workshops become the writing. It's easier than you might think to replace the difficult work of writing, just plain writing and writing, with the far easier and entertaining activity of a group or whatever. It feels like you're working, progressing. And to a certain extent, that's true. But nothing replaces write, write, write. I suspect this is true of other creative disciplines as well, hence the "disciplines".

So, dear readers, what do you think about attending conferences? Joining groups? Does it help you? Or the opposite?

And I'll be back on Monday with a report on my experiences.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summertime, summertime and shift happens

This is what summer is supposed to be like: lazy and relaxed.

But not this summer. Unless of course, you're my cat, when it's always summer. While visiting Swu on Swubird's Nest in the comments, he asked where everybody went this month? Well, I don't know about everybody, but I know where I went. I went frantic.

Perhaps it's worldwide, this overwhelm of everything. I know that amongst my friends and family, including my blogger friends, everyone seems to be in the same busy, busy, busy state. For example, I've filled every weekend in August! All with what I want to do and will love doing, but still, enough already.

Yet, I suspect and hope that this is a symptom of a healthy shift. When major change happens, it can be frenetic, especially right at the beginning of the change when the most energy is needed to shift. Most of the ultra-busy I know are that way because they are re-evaluating and then re-inventing portions (if not all) of their lives. In good ways.

Perhaps the answer then, is not to resent the lack of the summertime lazies, but to embrace the energy of change. Of course, it'd help if I had time to get the dishes and laundry done...

What about you, dear reader? Do you see major change in your life? If so, is it good or bad? Or neither? How do you get the laundry done?

Next post: of groups and conferences, platforms and product

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Let Freedom Ring!

It's early here, so our flag is not yet up!

And the flowers are appropriate because the vase comes from Bruce's mom whose birthday is tomorrow. Happy B'day Dorothy! And it's appropriate because the most important part of our freedoms is the freedom to express ourselves any way we want! This includes all my blogger friends, no matter where you may live--and ain't the 'net a wondrous thing?

What are your unique ways of expression? How do you celebrate the freedom in your life?


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Learning Gratitude

My friend, Kathy of Well Placed Words got me to thinking about how I learn. And the Fourth of July got me thinking about the freedoms I'm so grateful for, a primary one being freedom of speech. So here's a list of some of my favorite blogs with why I'm grateful to have each blogger expressing their freedom.

Well Placed Words: A great place to visit by a great friend of mine who's a fabulous editor and has fantastic and fun advice.
Pics and Poems: Dave has glorious examples of both with his posts.
Straight from Hel: Helen's another great editor who covers a wide range of writing topics well.
The Truth About Lies: Jim always has interesting, thought provoking content.
My Little Corner: Sandra provides market info to markets big and small, and everywhere in between.
Sia McKye's Thoughts: Sia's writer guests always provide entertainment and information.
Swubird's Nest: Swubird's often hilarious stories show how truth is stranger than fiction.
Cornish Dreamer: Rebecca's beautiful photos have to be seen to be believed.
Beth's Adventures: Beth has some great ones while she travels on her life journey.
Inspired Day by Day: The Muse is inspiring in her posts about her day to day inspiration for her writing.
The Book Lady: Caryn delights with her love of her subjects.
Peripheral Vision: If you aren't moved by Lynda's photography, then you aren't breathing.

There are more of course, and it's getting late so I may have missed a fav or two or three, but overall these are blogs that I visit often and am always glad I did!

How are you celebrating your freedoms?