I love writing and I’m grateful to make a living at it. But sometimes, when I’ve been hunched over my computer for 73 hours straight and I still haven’t quite broken the story that consumes every recess of my conscious and subconscious mind, and my right hand has attractively stiffened into its mouse-clicking position at all times, like the desperate final clutches of a melting witch—I tend to get a bit cranky about the whole business. So, how does the burnt-out writer get her mojo back? She goes to a writers conference!
Like leafing through my wedding album after a marital spat, attending a writers conference reminds me why I fell in love with writing in the first place. It doesn’t matter if I’m teaching a workshop, or taking one. Just being among so many other people who share my passion for writing always renews my energy for my own work. Plus, where else are you able to speak so freely about the creative process without sounding like a total douchebag?
It’s all too easy to take the things we love for granted, if we’re not careful. Even a cool job, like writing a pilot for a TV network, can become mundane when you’re banging it out every day, word by painstaking word. Which is why, every now and then, it’s important to ship the kids off to grandmas, squeeze yourself into that expensive silk negligée, and slow dance to your old favorite song (even if you are only doing this metaphorically from the comfort of your conference hotel room).
There’s so much I’ve learned at writing conferences over the years and I’m thankful to have made many friends. But just as meaningful is the feeling these gatherings always rekindle in me—that even after all these years, I’m still just as excited about writing as the day I first fell in love with it. Which begs the question: why don’t I go to writers conferences more often? Writing holds such an important place in my life it’s rather ironic that I often fret over taking time off from my writing (duh) to honor it.
Because the truth is: being a writer is more than just a job. Our work is sacred (this blog post notwithstanding), because in order to do it, we must be willing to give up pieces of ourselves. If you’ve never been to a writers conference, this is the secret we writers whisper in each other’s ears once we’re squirrelled away inside its secure confines, reveling just as much in our shared suffering as we do in our joy. But if you are not at a writers conference while reading this, a belated warning: this is the douchebaggy part.
I will be teaching two workshops at the Whidbey Island Writers Conference located in beautiful Puget Sound, October 25 – 27th. For more information, CLICK HERE.