Last month I had to make a hard decision. Would I attend a writer’s conference this year? I had happily anticipated attending every year for the past five. This year I had lots of negative things weighing me down. Some were of a writerly nature others were not but all demanded a place on my decision list.
On the con side
I hadn’t reached my writing goals this year. Yes, I published but the pay was small. The guest blogging I did paid nothing. I wanted to finish all the rewrites on my novel but still have some edits to do. I wanted to have a rough draft of my next novel finished rather than the few chapters and character sketches I managed to complete. The articles I planned on sending out based on appointments with publishers at last year’s conference are in various stages of completeness waiting in my computer. The short stories I sent got rejected and the devotionals have yet to be acknowledged. All of this is embarrassing and a little depressing.
After leaving the Army my oldest son and his family now live in my home. This makes it easier for him and his wife to attend college. Now I have grandchildren responsibilities. My elderly parents also live nearby. The days I don’t have to be at my part-time job have gotten filled with doctor visits and running errands for them. This time in my life is wonderful fodder for lots of articles on multi-generational family life but I haven’t had time to write them.
My brain has gotten fried by various dramas including the dryer breaking twice, the water heater being replaced, serious work done on our car and the AC on the fritz cutting deep into our finances. The death of my baby sister after a four year battle with liver cancer proved the most devastating. Now I am back on track with this nagging feeling it is too little too late.
The pro side
The whole point of a writer’s conference is to sharpen my skills to be a better writer. They will only remain dull if I let the chaos of the past year put training on hold.
I need the input from the workshops, the inspiration from the speakers and the encouragement from my fellow-writers. Writing is a rocky path to follow and gets quite lonely and at times discouraging. I need the refueling the conference will give me. Perhaps all those unfinished articles will find a home and my experience with a too full house will find expression on paper because of a divine appointment or word of encouragement.
I registered for the Write To Publish conference anyway. Despite the odds weighing heavily on the do not attend side I choose to nourish the gifting God has given me. I found confirmation in Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
What benefit have you gained from going to a conference even when it’s seems difficult?