Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Missing the Conferences

I love writing conferences. Like the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference that's happening next week. Like the SCBWI Summer Conference that's coming up in a couple of months. 

Conferences are where you learn everything you didn't know you needed to learn about writing craft and the publishing world.

They're where you get legitimate feedback on your writing and meet the writers you already admire--like Richard Peck and Karen Cushman--and the ones who are just starting out, like you.

Conferences are where you find your writing group, your writing friends, your mentors, and even your agent or book deal sometimes.

Writing conferences give you something to blog about.

But there comes a time when you need to stop conferencing (like how I just made that a verb?) and just get to work and write your wretched books. That's me right now. I have a book that's almost done, but not quite, and never have enough hours in the day to spend on it.

So I'm missing all kinds of stuff I'd rather not.
Like hearing the friends with whom I used to sit in workshops give presentations of their own.

Like buying way too many books (oh, how can a person have too many books?).

Like hanging out with other writer friends you haven't seen in a long time.

Like feeling the energy and excitement of all those writer brains getting together into one big mass. Wow. Nothing's quite like that.

Not happening this year.

I'm not going to WIFYR for the first time in four years. I'm not going to SCBWI. I am saving money. And maybe I'll actually get this book finished.

Have fun all you conference-attenders. Attendees. Why do they call them attendees, anyway? Attending isn't something that happens to you, it's something you do, right? Attenders.

Wish I were there. Honestly.

Dratted priorities.

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