Since the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association conference last summer was a huge milestone for me in terms of letting myself feel like a “real writer,” I was definitely looking forward to this year’s conference. Whereas last year I was shy, nervous about introducing myself, and very much desiring to blend into the background, this year, thanks to a fabulous group of writer-ly friends, I felt completely at home.
Though I missed the first day and keynote speech/dessert reception (curse you, cross-state traffic!), I was eager to get going on Saturday. One of my buddies from last year found me in the lobby, and we dropped in on a panel together where I leafed through my program and drew little stars next to the sessions I wanted to attend. Another friend who is in similarly early stages of the writing process told me she was trying to limit herself to sessions on the work she is currently doing, rather than looking too far ahead to marketing an as-yet unfinished book. My one concession to the Big Picture Publishing Dream was an excellent presentation on “What to Expect When You’re Publishing,” then I dove into sessions on unlocking character motivation, understanding my own procrastination habits, and mentally preparing myself for the magnitude of my project.
I didn’t go to a session every single hour. Our little group met up with another friend who was unable to attend the conference this year, and we all discussed our writing lives over lunch. I curled up on the comfy couches in the ballroom-turned-bookstore and devoured an excellent book I’d had signed the night before at the featured speaker panel. I nerded out over the enigmatic Anne Boleyn with C. C. Humphreys.
Most of all, as multiple people put it, I was recharging my writing batteries. As my new postgrad routine gets going, I now have the energy and creativity to build in time for my writing.
And, of course, I had fun!