In two weeks I’m headed to the beautiful YMCA of the Rockies for my first ever writer’s conference. As I prepare for that few days away from my family, I am filled with excitement and a little apprehension. My friend Kristi and I will be staying in her cabin in Estes Park, and I will know a few people at the conference, but I’m intimidated by all that I don’t know. We talked about conference preparedness at one of my writer’s groups last week, which helped, but I’m feeling a strong need to be myself even if I might do things a little differently than some of the more experienced attendees. I want to fit in and yet stick with what works for me, you know?
The 4 day conference will be filled with making friends, general sessions led by phenomenal speakers, and what I’m most excited about, attending a variety of workshops. There are so many to choose from! I started marking off those I’m most interested in, and quickly realized I’m totally on the non-fiction track. I think that suits me. I’m looking forward to soaking up the knowledge the speakers have to share with me. Here are a few of the workshops I’m planning on attending: Writing Compelling True Stories (Creative Nonfiction), Writing in the Niches: How to Identify, Connect With, and Maximize Your Audience, Map to Magazine Writing, and The Literature of Personal Disaster.
So where does the apprehension come in? Being asked, “So what do you write?” and not knowing how to answer. Do I say I’m a blogger? An anthology contributor? I know what I am NOT, and I’m still figuring out what I AM. Is it a good thing to be clearly defined? It is in the writing world, and I’m not there yet. I’m hoping this conference will give me some direction and confidence about where I’m headed. I’m going to do my best to leave my expectations at home.
All the talk I’ve heard about “selling yourself” makes me nervous too. I hear this is one of the more relaxed conferences where jeans aren’t totally frowned upon, which is good since that’s what I’m most comfortable wearing. I can dress jeans up a little with a cute shirt, so I’m going to dress like me and not worry about looking “professional” this time around. I’m not planning any meetings with Agents or Editors, so no business suits, but no pink fuzzy slippers either.
“Write His Answer” is the theme this year. The website says, “If you long for your words to make a difference in the lives of your readers, if your heart’s desire is to be encouraged and equipped to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives…” Yes! That’s me! Please pray that God will give me His direction in how to accomplish that goal like only I can.