Sunday, April 28, 2013

I'll Be Staying Home...This Year

As you may already know, the RT Booklovers Convention 2013 is this week in Kansas City. It is, apparently, a ginormous reader/author/industry-folk convention and everyone and their dog is going to be there. The list of authors attending is ridiculously awesome. Some personal favs include "old school" romance authors who are still going strong like Jude Deveraux, Bertrice Small, Karen Robards, Heather Graham, and Julie Garwood. (!!!) Authors whose books are on my keeper shelves like Cherry Adair, Thea Divine, Lora Leigh, and Beth Kery, to new (to me) authors like Roxanne St. Claire, Victoria Dahl, Kristen Callihan, and Sylvia Day. Go ahead and go back to the authors list and fan-girl (or boy) out again. Right? *sigh*

So, from a reader's standpoint, the convention sounds like a cool way to meet lots of amazing authors and other readers.

While I've read romance for a long, long time now, I have more recently hung out a shingle as a romance writer. Gulp. *waves* There is plenty to learn and a convention like RT 2013 sounds like a great opportunity to attend workshops and network as well.

But, I'm not going. I decided a few months ago that for several reasons, despite the convention being a drivable distance away, not to go. Argh. Hopefully, it will work out another year. Just not this one.

This list of FAQs about #RT13 is impressive, but I'd like to hear from you. What advice would you give to an aspiring author attending the RT convention? How helpful or effective have you found such conventions to be?

Happy Travels! I'll be following the hashtag on twitter and prepping for another convention or conference some day soon.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Just a Few Words

After a week where the news was terrifying and horrible, day after day, here's hoping that next week is uneventful and dull, peppered with good news and sunshine. To all the brave first responders, police officers, and medical personnel: thank you for what you do. We are so grateful.

The week ended on several stories of strength and resilience of the human spirit, kindness in the face of fear, togetherness in spite of our differences, and resolve despite stunning defeat. It was, at times, exhausting to take in. I can only imagine how people are feeling who are so much closer to these tragedies and frustrating events. I was wiped out just following along.

See you next Sunday.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hurdles and Hoops

Before I had kids, I liked to imagine I could plan out my life 18 months in advance. It gave me a sense of momentum and helped me juggle several tasks at once. It also helped me see that there were finite amounts of time. Projects would really only take so long to complete. Grad school had only so many courses and exams and meetings.

Kids change things. Life happens, unpredictable and scary at times. Wonderful and funny and freeing. And I've learned to let go of some of that long-range planning.

With my writing I have tried to find a balance of focus and creativity, setting goals, and being open to learning. For the past few weeks, I'd set a goal of when I would Finish the Darn Novel. The plan was to write and not really edit but Get There. It didn't have to be pretty, I just needed to get to The End. Deadlines work for me. They add a touch of fear and a sense of structure, even if the only person who cares about it is me. (Well, and hubs. Supportive guy.)

So here I was, swimming along, mostly fine with the process, scared and excited. But the month of April caught me completely off guard. May is usually the overly-scheduled month, but somehow this year April is filled with activities. Last week, I sat down to write and my word-count actually went down one night. I closed my computer and tried to shake it off. I took a week off blogging, just to get some extra rest. Not only is my writing time more condensed this month, in the process of trying to lessen the load on my schedule, I managed to make more work for myself in the short-term.

April has gotten me off-track and, sometimes, even feeling insecure about my writing. Why am I doing this? My life is already too busy. Who am I to think I should just put it out there that I'm writing a novel? How pretentious. Even my twitter-feed made me anxious. So many tips and suggestions, I felt like what I had, even if it was just for me, was silly. I was venturing into a world I was fooling myself I could really do. Ick, right?

But then I realized (again) that I'm not really writing for anything other than that it makes me happy. It makes me so happy. Even if my goal for finishing the dreaded rough draft gets pushed back a few weeks, I am not giving it up. I choose to carry on. It may be messy. It may be naive. It certainly is amateur. But I just can't stress about all of that because it gets in my way and keeps me from just doing it. Yes, of course, there are a million things to learn and never enough time. But I am still going to do it.

I usually refer to obstacles in my long-term planning as hoops to jump through. I also believe that there is more than one way to get to a goal. Very few things in life--if any--have one perfect path to get there. So me getting all insecure and feeling overwhelmed was just another hoop. Same with April being ridiculously busy. Unlike future obstacles in this process, I did not see those coming.

But this weekend I also thought about how one spring I went out for the track team. Somehow I ran hurdles. Maybe it was the long legs because I am not known for speed. The first memory that pops into my head when I think of it is how one day I tripped and fell on a hurdle. I rolled a few times on the track and felt embarrassed. I probably had skinned knees too. I don't remember anyone laughing at me, though they certainly could have, especially because a falling hurdle is loud. You look at a hurdle differently once you know how it feels to fall from it.

This time though, when I thought of running hurdles, I thought about how the rest of the time, it was really fun doing hurdles. It was all run and run and plant that foot and leap and tuck the other leg up and to the side and make it over the bar and keep freaking doing it until the end. Fun.

While I did not leave the track world with any honors, I absolutely came away from it with a couple of lessons. I am reminded this spring that while hurdles can be complicated and trip you up, they can also teach you about getting back out there.

What kind of hurdles to your writing do you face? How do you keep your momentum? What do you do when you fall?

Happy writing, all!