Thursday, September 11, 2014

Arrogant, Elegant, Smart?

I've been trying to get a Throwback Thursday post up most weeks, but this week, I'm too preoccupied about the future to successfully contemplate the past.

This coming Saturday, I'm signed up for a real, honest-to-goodness writer's conference. It's a fairly small one in a fairly small town, and is more lecture than critique. Still, I'm nervous. I feel like an impostor. I feel like if I'm not careful, someone will ask me a question a Real Writer would know the answer to, and I'll be exposed as a fraud. A shocked silence will fall, and I'll be cast into the outer darkness to wail and gnash my teeth.

Something like that.

Or at the very least, I'm not sure how to introduce myself if--God forbid--anyone asks me to do so.

• Do I admit to writing all my life, to many years of short stories and essays and even completed novel-length works, and say I'm there to learn more about editing and marketing? Or is that arrogant?

• Do I act aloof and blase: say I've always been kind of curious about having a go at writing and that I'm just there out of curiosity?

• Or do I resort to my common role in music circles: playing the total beginner, so I have excuses for any shortcomings, but limiting myself because I'm basically saying "Don't take me seriously"?

As I once again pondered these questions this morning, this song (performed by Danny Kaye in The Inspector General) popped into my head. Doesn't really address my conundrum, but it makes me smile.


notagain said...

My strategy would be to either try not to be first, or to arrive early and engage others in conversation to get a feel for the group. But really I think the writing all your life, looking to learn about editing and marketing is more precise than arrogant. It also clarifies whether that's a good group for you.

Scott Kernaghan said...

You deserve to be there. If any one deserves to be there, it is you. You've signed up, and as such you know you deserve to be there. So walk in with your head high, and just know the you are a confident and competent writer.
You are there for you, not the benefit of anyone else.

Bill M said...

Go for it. Be yourself. You will do just fiine.

Little Flower Petals said...

Notes on the workshop: good, overall! As I mentioned, the workshops were lecture rather than involving any critique, so it was a good way to ease into these without having to do anything too scary. Leaving the house and going somewhere unfamiliar and meeting a lot of people is scary enough first time around. The keynote (by Robert Dugoni) was fun, and ended with a parody of the speech Aragorn gave at the Black Gate: this day we write!

I went to three workshops: one on plotting (by Robert Dugoni), one on editing (Mick Silva), and one on marketing (Veronika Noize). All good, all somewhat intimidating, especially marketing. I think the plotting workshop was the most applicable for now. I have a better grasp on why my longer stories tend to sag in the middle, if not exactly how to fix them in specific-to-the-story ways. (In a nutshell, I need to spend more time thwarting and hurting my characters.)

Other things I learned/realized:
- I really need to have some sort of business cards for these sorts of events. Here I left my little burrow and talked to more people than I usually talk to in a year, and I really only gave my address to one person, plus remembered one other name. It would be nice to keep in contact with people from events, but that's hard to do without--duh--a contact.
- I should really be more confident when it comes to claiming a genre. Since I'm sort of cross-genre, maybe I just need to get confident about saying that. I did a lot of mumbling and saying "kinda" and "sort of," which is humiliating.
- Likewise, if I'm going to talk about works in progress or completed stories, figure out a few sentences or a paragraph to describe each, so I don't dissolve.
- Not really related to anything said at the conference, just a realization that's been awhile coming: after all these years, I still don't have a good grasp on blogging well. I should probably start over, or at least start a slicker "author" blog with less slapdash content. I should probably have a website of my own as well. This is all daunting, and I'm not sure what to do next, but I need to start thinking about it.

Now I want three things, not necessarily in this order:
1. To not talk to anyone for about a week, pretty much, while I process.
2. To sleep, perchance to dream.
3. To tear my latest novel into smithereens and start from scratch.