If you attended a writer’s conference recently, you know the flood of emotions that hits you when you get home. This year, a conference turned out better than my dreams, so of course my first emotion is joy followed closely by guilt.
Writing Tip for Today: Guilt, you say? Why would I feel guilty over having a writing dream finally come to fruition? Why would any writer?
- “Let’s kill her.” A fellow writer has something good happen. For years a standing dark joke between another writer and me was to say, “Did you hear about So-and-so? Let’s kill her.” If we’re honest, we all admit that we suffer jealousy when another writer makes good. The hurt of “Why not me?” is palpable, especially if you’ve been passed over again and again. If you came home from conference in the dumps, hearing of another’s success is salt in the wound. I handle my writer’s jealousy with a couple of chuckles, a good cry or most important, the reminder that I’ll be happier if I “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”
- Jumpin’ the Gun. For years I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting my books picked up. At every conference, I went in hopeful and came out discouraged. Now that I look back at all those years, I can clearly see I wasn’t ready. I insisted on jumping the gun. I do think the experience of pitching, getting turned down and having to knuckle under and practice some more was invaluable. It’s all part of the process.
- Subjective Objectivity. When you leave a conference, you’ve no doubt got a ton of feedback in your head. Lots of times the feedback is contradicted. What’s a writer to do? Let a bit of time go by. Pay attention to the suggestions, not only from the people you value most but also to the ones that feel right to you. Don’t be like the writer who got on her donkey and rode off in all directions. Changing to please everyone will never work. Listen to your heart.