Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG~Conferences & Seesawing Emotions

You guys...I attended my first writer's conference this past weekend. FINALLY! NESCBWI to be exact. 

(And this fella right here was my co-pilot. His name is Rufus. Yes, I named him. It's only right, being a writer and all.) 

The organizers were amazing. The workshops were incredibly insightful. And the entire conference was run so smoothly that if any hitches arose no one noticed. I even volunteered, which was really helpful in meeting other writers, and I went out to dinner on Friday night with a few other @sweet16s/@swanky17s - MonicaTesler, Ruth Lehrer, Jen Petro-RoyRonni Arno, Lee Gjertsen Malone, & Melissa Schorr. You really must check out these fabulous MG & YA authors. Go follow them now.

So why was my stomach in knots when I returned home?

The biggest reason I've come up with is because I went alone. And with it being my first time that made finding any sense of calm a bit more challenging. I'm kind of a pack animal, so without a pack I felt exposed. Natural, I supposed though. Then there was all the crazy talent in attendance. Seriously folks, we have some uber creativity up here in the New England states. Talk about intimidating - which made me want to hide. But then there was the only element to surpass the elevated brightness and wit of these people - their kindness, which made me all warm and fuzzy. 

You're asking yourself: so what's her insecurity? I guess it's kind of a seesawing of confidence and inferiority, how to balance that, and how to use it to fuel my writing. 

Ever struggle with this? How have you handled it?

The purpose of the IWSG is to share and encourage, posting on the first Wednesday of each month. You'll find writer doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Support and a common understanding spread throughout the group as many fellow writers can relate. Feel free to JOIN in anytime.
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38 comments:

  1. Natural emotions, Sheri. Kudos for going in the first place! I remember my first residential writing course - I was graced with the presence of some amazing and successful authors. Each and every one of them was so kind and supportive (me being the only newbie) but that didn't stop me from crying every day in my room. Completely out of my depth! But I did it, improved my writing, learned about the writing world and made some new friends.

    Great post! Thank you.

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    1. And I'm so glad you did! I know it's natural. I just wish I was more comfortable stepping out of my box. But I suppose if I was than I wouldn't be really stepping out of my box, right?

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  2. Awesome you went to the conference. I haven't gone to one for awhile, but going alone always made me nervous, but I made friends. Awesome you got to meet Jen!

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    1. Oh, yes! Jen is so sweet. It was the first time I'd spoken with her. She has tons of energy. Loved it. Do you know her?

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  3. Maybe next year we can go together...

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    1. That would be so fabulous! If you decide to do it, let me know for sure so I can start saving up now.

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  4. You struggled between feeling out of place and not feeling out of place because they were so friendly and nice. Very natural.

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    1. That's it exactly. Plus, the talent is just amazing. It was comforting to see so many others - those who are already pretty successful writers - honing the craft with such intensity.

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  5. I totally get ya. At times, I feel high like I've written something amazing, and other times I'm all, how can I compare to the others??

    I hope to someday attend one of the conferences. They have some close to home, but I haven't gotten up the nerve to abandon my husband to the kids (5 and 2) for an extended amount of time while I go do writing stuff. It sounds like fun though!

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  6. It appears I am/was signed into the wrong account, making it tough to track me back, in case you wanted to... :P Loni Townsend

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  7. I felt the same way when I attended my first conference, especially since part of the conference was having a writing sample workshopped. The workshops were facilitated by big name editors and literary agents and I totally freaked out. But I just kept telling myself that I submitted my best work and on top of that, I deserved to let my voice be heard. Still nerve-racking, nevertheless!

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  8. Wait, you just described the writing ego in a nutshell. ;) I have yet to make it to a conference--mostly because of cost, but also because of all the littles at home. I keep telling myself "one day." By then I'll have enough blogging friends that I'll surely find my group at the conference. One day.

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  9. Volunteering at a conference is a great idea. I want to do that one day. I think after something like that I'd be a little shaken too, but it sounds like you had a good time and that it was productive for you.

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  10. Volunteering at a conference is a great idea. I want to do that one day. I think after something like that I'd be a little shaken too, but it sounds like you had a good time and that it was productive for you.

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  11. Bet you learned a lot.
    Now, take a crowd with you next time!

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  12. Hi Sheri - seesaw is life - just seems to be magnified when it's rearing its ugly head over something particular. Wonderful to see you've attended an event - must have been an amazing experience ...

    Cheers Hilary

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  13. I'm sure being away from your family didn't help matters. I could be in the most luxurious resort in the world, but I still wouldn't feel completely comfortable. Dorothy said it all -- There's no place like home.

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  14. I'll be facing in Oct 2016 and I'll let you know. ;-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  15. A year or so ago I went alone to my first ever conference. It was in my hometown and it was small. I felt somewhat okay until I met, one on one with a big time agent. He quickly went over 10 pages of my ms and I felt very unconfident and unqualified. I couldn't wait to escape.

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  16. It's strange how being around successful authors can both inspire you and make you feel inferior in a way. I think we all experience that though.

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  17. I'm trying to remember if I ever felt that kind of seesawing when I attended a conference. Oh, right. Just about each time. I thought that only happened to me. Thanks for telling me I'm not the only one.

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  18. I always feel that way after I've been at a writing event. Like Lee, I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this even though I'm sorry you guys experience it too. I loved your conference companion pic! So cute!

    And re: your question about the series arc on my blog - I honestly never intended to write a series so I have just worked on each book as they came along. I thought the first one would be it for me. So now I'm kind of thinking of an arc to try to tie things together if I end up finishing this book and one other. I am definitely approaching this backwards LOL.

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  19. Obviously, from the previous responses, you aren't alone. We all feel both buoyed and deflated by meeting our stellar counterparts. I just presented (PRESENTED) at a teen lit fest and a couple weeks later I'm still battling the 'I'm not worthy' bug, but it was such a great experience. I'm so excited for you that your writing life is forging ahead! You've really, really earned this. Hugs!

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  20. I was recently at a conference, both as part of the steering committee putting it on and as faculty. I've found when I plan/work it, I don't leave with that weird sensation. I left exhausted, but pumped. But I also was among co-workers vs. strangers, and there is a difference there. I'm glad you had a good experience, but sorry you left feeling that way. Conferences are amazing, but they're a lot of work for attendees. You have to be on all the time.

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  21. I've not been able to get to a writer's or bookish conference yet, but I'd really like to go to one ... sooner than later. ;) In terms of the insecurity, I would think that even those writers at the conference who were the most intimidating have all experienced similar insecurity in the past at some point. They point out the possible.

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  22. I'm so jealous. I want so badly to go to a writer's conference, but there are none in my area and we can't afford for me to jump on a plane any time soon. Congrats on having such an awesome time.

    As to your question, I struggle much more with inferiority. I see all these amazing writers, and think "I will never be that good." I just keep reminding myself they started somewhere, and I will eventually get to where they are, if I keep writing.

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  23. It's been several years since I went to a conference, but I enjoyed the ones I attended and learned so much. Like you mentioned, writers are a lovely bunch of people. They're also so talented I'm in awe of them. Glad you had a great experience. I think we all have ups and downs, wondering what we're doing.

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  24. Oh my goodness! I'd have been feeling the exact same way!!!!
    But look at you! All brave and adventurous ;) I'm glad you had a wonderful time. Writers are SO the best people out there, and where better to be alone than in a room of like-minded souls? And . . . I'm always wondering how to deal with the struggle . . . so I'm not sure I ever handle it lol

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  25. I'm going to the Hudson Book Festival this weekend, and my biggest insecurity will be walking into the Author Welcome Dinner and wondering where I should sit and who might like to talk to me. I really have never gotten over my middle school days when the mean girls wouldn't let me sit with them. I want to be social and brave, but I'm afraid I'll sit in a corner, eat by myself, and leave early.

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    1. OMGosh! I didn't answer you before this weekend. Did you find a seat? I'm sure you did. But I totally understand what you mean about looking around for people or a place to sit. The other thing is looking at everyone's chest to read their name tag. O_o

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  26. Yay! You got to attend a conference last weekend, too! I did go with a friend, but I do have to admit that I was intimidated at times!!

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  27. I'm so glad you plucked up the courage to go by yourself. Isn't it amazing how kind other writers are? They draw you in and make you a part of their pack. Glad you enjoyed yourself and learned a lot. Now to put it into practice, right?

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  28. How terrific that you attended a conference. It sounds like it was awesome. I've been wanting to do that, but haven't. As far as your question goes, I would try to avoid comparing yourself to others. Focus on your strengths.

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  29. Well it was definitely worth going as you made great connections. I've never been to a conference but I can see it would take guts to go alone. All the writers you met will have the same issues - we all do. I would agree with the advice to recognise your own strengths. Glad you had a great time!

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    1. Thanks for pointing out the 'own strengths' part. It's so hard to remember to do that, at times. Hope all is well with you!

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  30. Glad you had fun, Sheri. I went alone to my first SCBWI conference (Eastern PA, 2008) and I met some wonderful writer friends I'm still in touch with today.

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    1. That's wonderful! Writers really are an awesome group of folks.

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  31. I've felt all of that too. I love meeting up with writers at these conferences whether I go alone or with people I already know.

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