Veronica Rossi 1 Thursday, May 02, 2013
We're focusing on conferences this week. Here's a post from two years ago, slightly modified. Hope you enjoy it, and good luck on any conferences you might attend this year!

Conferences--both before and afterward--bring out my imagination muscles. I am so good at imagining the worst:

So many people! And they all look like they are much better writers than I am. That keynote? Never in one million years could I pull anything off like that. And did you see those people, just blatantly hanging out with MT Anderson like he's human? Like he's one of us? He is not one of us! He is MT Anderson! You're not supposed to just... talk to him. Seriously. Some people and their equality agendas...

My point is that, for an introvert who spends 50% of her time in pajamas, a conference can really hype me out. And it shouldn't. So many of us carry around the same insecurities when we emerge from our writing caves and blink, wide-eyed at the world.

Am I good enough? How do I fit into this crowd? How do I compare?

Well, I'm here to tell you: You are good enough, but you can be better. I heard recently that in yoga, everyone is a beginner until they are a master. I think writing is that way. We are all perpetual beginners. We are all striving, with every paragraph, scene, chapter, novel. So don't rest on your laurels. Work hard. Dig in and learn until you become a master.

How do you fit into the crowd? Well, you just do. Don't bother comparing yourself to others. We're too different as writers, thank goodness. If you want to compare, compare yourself now with yourself a year ago.

The Conference Commandments - This is something (very embarrassing) that I do before conferences. I write a list of reminders to myself. I look at this list a few days before, during, and after the conference. It helps to keep me level-headed about my expectations.

My list from a conference a year ago:

1. You are there to learn.
2. You love to write. 
3. You love your story and your characters. 
4. You are writing the story you want to read, and that alone makes it worthwhile.
5. When you receive feedback, most of the time you see the value after the burn.
6. You are not there to get an offer of representation so don’t pout if it doesn’t happen.
7. Keep working. Always keep working.
8. Don’t freak out if (insert agent and/or editor's name) hates your writing.
9. Don’t be the obnoxious person who talks too much during sessions. Listening is better. You can learn more that way.
10. You are there to improve so keep your eye on that ball and the rest will follow as it should.

So, yeah.... That's a taste of the inner monologue that's running through my mind during a conference. You've seen a bit of all of this in the other Muses posts this week. 

Conferences offer terrific opportunities to learn, socialize, and recharge. Also, you might have the extraordinary opportunity to actually say hello to MT Anderson, who I am almost completely certain is human and nice. Say hello to MT Anderson. I am putting it right at the top of my next list.

What are some of your tips for being mentally prepared when you head into a conference?


Absolutely wonderful advice! And a good self-confidence booster.

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