Writing Conference Weekend
Last Saturday I spent the day at a one-day conference put on by the Oregon Christian Writers. While the speakers were good and the conference, well organized, what I most enjoyed was simply being in a huge room full of writers all day. I loved meeting other writers, hearing about their projects, whether in progress or just an idea, their published books, and perhaps above all, their writing process.
I loved batting around ideas about how to stay focused, how to make time for writing when you have a full life, how to set priorities and boundaries, and how to take care of yourself so you can do your best work.
Another wonderful part of the weekend was exchanging contact info with other writers and bloggers so we can stay in touch and cheer each other on.
Although the conference was just one day, I took the opportunity to turn it into a writing retreat, by book-ending the conference with a hotel stay the night before and night after. This way I had time to write, enjoy some solitude and process what I learned before it was time to go back home.
Have you ever experienced a rapid perspective shift when you get out of your normal routine? I sure did this weekend. I realized that trying to run away from my health problems doesn't work, I haven't made it up, it's real and I must find a way to acknowledge it and take care of myself even in the midst of dreams and travel.
I couldn't believe how tired I was. It was really frustrating, to the point of tears, how much time I had to spend resting instead of writing. It was great to get some writing done, and I was thrilled to enjoy the conference, but I had to realize at one point that if I don't take care of the writer, the writer won't be able to get any work done.
Sometimes when we dream, at least I know this is how it's been for me, we imagine a fantasy world without factoring in challenges or realities. I realized a few years ago that dreams up close are less glossy. When a fantasy becomes reality it's wonderful, of course, but it will include things you didn't count on when you were dreaming. My writing conference/retreat fantasy became reality this weekend. It was wonderful. It also included the reality of pain, a short night due to pain, exhaustion and some tears. I left my house in the pouring rain with a crying daughter. These things are reality.
I think it's important to remember when dreaming, that while your dream can be wonderful, perhaps even better than you dreamed it, it will also be real life when it comes true. Maybe if we know that going in, we can create reasonable expectations.
Here are some of the realizations I had while away:
I am very blessed to have supportive people in my life who help me make dreams come true. Special thank you to my husband and my parents here.
Not all days will be word count days. Some days will be resting days so that I can create another day.
Continuing to make space in my days for creativity and for my writing will yield results, even if it's just a bit of time consistently. Consistency creates results.
If you have a dream, what's stopping you from making it a reality? Get real and honest with yourself here. Write it down and process it. Then figure out the first step. For me, one of my first steps was that it was time to see the doctor again and try to implement a new treatment plan, so I can be living a more full and vital life.
I have to take my own dreams and goals seriously before anyone else will. Similarly, I have to ask for what I need and want.
I hope you join me in taking your dreams and goals seriously, and figuring out the first, or next, step to pursuing them. No one's going to do your work for you. You make it happen! And when it does, give yourself a bit of grace with the realities, and don't forget to say thank you to those who helped you along the way.