Sunday, June 07, 2009

My first Arkansas Writers' Conference: the morning

I got there almost 45 minutes early. I have this weird compulsion about getting to things that make me nervous early. I don't want to be late and lost (particularly downtown) and add to the nerves. (I've clearly conquered the nerves that work and church used to cause.) That, multiplied by the fact that I've been looking forward to this for some time now, led to an earlier-than-normal-even-for-me arrival. Plus, I can watch the people that go in and make sure I'm dressed properly. I'm not sure what it is with me, probably a lack of fashion sense, but I'm always very sure I'm not dressed properly.

The thing about artistic types is that clothes can run the gamut from creative to comfortable and in Arkansas, jeans are a given. I dressed carefully and comfortably and made my debut. And in my head, I felt conspicuous as I walked to the registration table, like the sign over my head said "not really a writer like you are probably a writer, like with published books and stuff."

There's something about walking into these things alone. Clearly, I would have had less nerves to have a compadre, someone to sit with and talk to and pretend that I'm amazingly popular and well-loved instead of one highly ineffective mingler. Instead, I walked in, found others who had never been to this conference, and totally dorked it up. Quietly. I'm OK with that. I only have one very strict dorkiness policy: I don't want to be the biggest dork in the room. (And really, if no one tells me that I am, in fact, the biggest dork in the room, I'll never know.)

And I've decided that going to a writer's conference isn't that different from the quilting classes I've been to. Except that the writers need to catch on to the need for chocolate. I mean, at 3:00 in the afternoon, there should be chocolate near. And Diet Coke.

I did determine something very important. No one knows you here at this conference unless you're in a writer's group. Or you win awards.

And I am in a writer's group...but not the writer's group. Clearly, I need to determine what I'm going to write and get connected. That appears to be an important first step!

And the awards...well, everything changes when you manage to win an award. I'm pretty sure it only changed in my head, but I think that counts.

1 comment:

Mundane Jane said...

I went to my first writer's conference alone.

I also won an award.

They still don't know who I am.