Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why do Writers LOVE Conferences?

October 1st and 2nd I attended the Nebraska Writers Guild annual Fall Conference in Grand Island, Nebraska.  Had an outstandingly amazing time, got to catch up with many friends in the Nebraska writing community, and made many more. 

For those who are not writers, or those who are forced to endure those of us who are writers, the question arises as to why we go to these things anyway.  I kind of understand the thinking, as I've endured my fair share of work-related conferences.  Boring, dull, and...and...and... Yeah, boring and dull. 

But here's the deal.  For the most part, writing is a lonely, solitary endeavor.  We writers spend hours staring at our computer screens, a splotch of paint on the wall, or out the window, trying to twist the thoughts in our head into the perfect combination of words on a page.  Trust me, it's not as easy as it seems.  If you'd like to try for yourself, National Novel Writing Month will kick off on November 1st, and I invite you to come join in for the fun.  But all in all, when I'm writing, it's me and the computer.

Writing conferences give me the opportunity to interact with other people who think the way I think.  Who else "gets" it but another writer?  I absolutely thrive on having the opportunity to join forces with other writers.  Usually, there is an opportunity for members to share readings from their various works-in-progress, or their latest publication.  I truly love getting to hear all these great stories.  It's broadened my literary horizon so much by getting hooked on stories I've heard read at a conference.  There's a huge validation when someone comes up and talks to you afterward about what you've read as well. 

We commisurate, lament, console, cajole, and generally encourage each other on our quest to the perfect agent/publisher/contract, and so on.  Haven't been applying the butt to the chair and actually putting words on a page?  You hang around enough writers, and they will kick that butt.  Which is a very good thing, I might add.  I write more when I'm going to a conference or writing group.  No way am I showing up empty-handed! 

Probably the most important reason to go is to recharge your writing battery.  I have yet to come away from a conference without at least one new idea.  And really, that's the most important thing.  A writer without an idea, is not writing much. 

Last night, a group of us stayed after the conference and hung out at the motel bar to socialize.  Loads of fun, lots of laughs, and great company. 

Until the wedding dance down the hall got out of control. 

The resulting melee spread from the room where the dance was held into the bar area where we were, and out into the motel parking lot.  It did not take more than a few seconds for the writers to break camp and disperse, either to their own motel rooms, or to their cars. 

As I drove from Grand Island to Lincoln, I had time to reflect on the situation.  First of all to feel a little sorry for the poor bride and groom.  No bride wants a brawl at their wedding dance.  But, I'm a writer, so of course, the plot-wheels start turning.  On the hour and a half drive back, I hatched a whole new plot. 

Six writers go to a bar...

More to follow~!

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