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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So, it’s back to the grindstone, sharpening my skills and my story. And, the ROW80 goals are restored.
*Sunday only – Word count as of today is 68,000.
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