Photo by Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net
I spent the last half of the week at the 2012 ACFW Conference in Dallas, and I came away feeling shattered. The conference was well-attended and well planned. The speakers for the conference were top-notch, experienced writers and editors, and I feel as though I’ve made many friends within the organization. So, why do I feel shattered? Sometimes, an experience changes you forever; I’m not the same person who left home a few days ago.
Learning shatters what we know and how we think.
Every session offered something of value I wanted to remember. Through exposure to the thoughts of others about how to write, my way of thinking evolved, too.
Preparation is as important as attendance.
The learning began before the event while I was Preparing for Conference. The time I spent on preparation wasn’t wasted, either, because those materials and my pitch helped me talk to a couple of publishers and receive valuable advice for next year.
Learning changes beliefs, and beliefs change behavior.
I know my negative writing behaviors stem from my beliefs. “I’ll do it tomorrow,” I say because deep down, I believe I’ll have tomorrow. “I don’t need critique” translates to “It’s my story; my readers’ opinions and questions don’t count.” And, “I don’t need deadlines because I write when the feeling strikes,” is another way of saying, “I can’t learn self-discipline.” “I want my work to be perfect,” is the perfect excuse for procrastination, stemming from the belief that I’ll never be good enough.
Swapping lies for truth profoundly affects behavior:
- Today is all that’s available to me now. I will write today.
- Critiques will help me reach my readers. I will seek out critiques of my work.
- Setting deadlines gives self-discipline a target, and self-discipline is a choice. I will set deadlines and choose to write, especially when I don’t feel like writing.
- My best is good enough, and, as long as I continue to learn, I have the hope of getting better. I will do my best, submit it, and move on.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Attending writers’ conferences and workshops enables an author to hone her skills. There’s always someone with more experience, insight, or skill, and even if you learn just one thing, you’ve been enriched. Sitting at the feet of a master craftsman can take years off of a newer writer’s learning curve.
Permanent transformation requires practice.
Some of the things I want to practice are:
- Writing goals with dates.
- Using more telling details to show character growth.
- Weaving description throughout scenes to create mood and to reveal the perceptions of the POV character.
- Taking note of my own emotions during life’s events in a journal to tap later for realism.
- Staying in touch with my characters through regular “interviews.”
- Staying intentional. Writing must be driven by intent to reach excellence. I may have to write a separate post about this topic.
So, it’s back to the grindstone, sharpening my skills and my story. And, the ROW80 goals are restored.
How have you benefited by attending a workshop or conference? Which workshops and conferences do you recommend?
I’m on a Monday to Sunday work week, and I only post accumulated word count on Sunday evening.
- Goal 1 – Complete 4,000+ words/week for Twin Kingdoms by Sunday.*
- Goal 2 – Complete one post for Christ’s Reflections by Sunday.
- Goal 3 – Complete one post for momsread.com by Sunday.
- Goal 4 – Complete two posts for kathresemckee.com (This post is one day late.)
- Goal 5 – 4 tweets/day, every day.
- Goal 6 – 2 comments/day on other blogs, averaged out from Monday through Sunday.
- Goal 7 – Read one non-fiction book/week.
*Sunday only – Word count as of today is 68,000.
Thanks for reading my post. Please leave a question or comment before you leave.