Monday, April 27, 2009
The Best Writer's Conference Ever!
I got back late last night from the LDSStorymakers Writing Conference. IT WAS AWESOME! (Once again.) This is my fourth time attending and every year it just gets better. I'm still a little tired from traveling yesterday and getting up at 4:30 AM (Utah time) to be with my kiddos today who decided to wake up at 6:30 AM (Ohio time).
While I absolutely loved going, I felt guilty this year. You see, I haven't done a lot of writing in the last year (not counting blogging). Since the last conference I have been really busy with anything but writing. I traveled, I had a baby, I moved across the country, I started babysitting three or four times a week, and I played lots of board games with Nathan and friends from dental school and Church. But my worst excuse is I stopped believing in myself and my abilities. It was pretty easy to say I didn't have time to write. I did a little bit of therapeutic writing shortly after we moved here, but that was it. I didn't work on my books at all. I blamed it on lack of time, but really it was lack of faith in myself. I'm terrified to submit. Thinking about it makes me tear up and get shaky.
Any confidence I had gained in writing from my college professors (because that is where nearly all of it came) was gone. I hadn't been in school for a long time (or at least hadn't taken an English class in a while). I'm not sure what happened to zap my confidence, but it was gone. I had a blog that people told me they enjoyed reading, I had a couple stories accepted for a collection in a book, and recently I was asked to write some articles for our Stake's summer musical, This is Kirtland! and in the past I've had letters to the editor published in USU's paper, The Stateman, a paper that isn't easy to get into if your letter is actually well-written and thought out. But I haven't worked on my stuff for a long, long time.
If there is one thing that I learned at this conference (ok, I'm going to list more than one here, but they all go together) it is this: write anyway. Write, write, write, and stop editing my stuff so much. I never get very far because I stop to edit and try to make those first chapters perfect. Then when I can't, I get discouraged and stop writing altogether. I need to make writing one of my priorities and that scares me. What? I have to have ANOTHER priority? I don't have enough priorities already?
Yeah. I have to make it a priority and make myself do it because, hey, it is what I want to do, it is something I do actually love doing when I believe in myself (and like what I'm writing about--payday loans and injury lawyers are topics I do not enjoy writing about so please do not ask me to write about them as a ghost writer on your nephew's website simply because you don't want to do it yourself. I will say no.).
So, from now on I am not allowed to tell myself that I was stupid when I thought I could write. I WILL write every day and after seeing what is reasonable for me I will make a daily word count goal. I will hold myself responsible to those of you who read my blog (I will try to create something that I can check off daily on my blog to let you know, as if you care, that I reached my word count goal for the day), the wonderful people in my writing group, and to my husband. Oh, and to Jeff Savage because he made me promise I would have one manuscript finished (not polished, just completely written) by the end of the summer.
So here I go. Ready, Set, Go!