As the Surrey International Writers Conference approaches with the speed of light, I realize this year I don't have a goal. A plan. I have no agenda.
My first year, I went to learn about my craft to see where I was in my ability. Turned out I was doing pretty great.
The second year I pitched a book and spoke at the UnConference which was an amazing experience as the moderator Sean Cranbury is brilliant. And years I met really talented, wonderful people who I stay in touch with and trade stories and ideas with on a daily basis. It's a perk of the conference, for sure.
This year, though. This year seems different. I am not speaking. I don't feel like I have anything to pitch (although several people tell me different) and I don't really have a set agenda. I am taking my very first Masters Class and will probably drop the first page of my manuscript into the SiWC Idols box but that is about it. (Side note: The Idols session is the best thing I have ever seen but chances of having my page randomly pulled? Slim to none.)
So as I sit here almost literally pulling my hair out, sometimes writing, sometimes not, possibly shedding a few tears over this book and wondering if anyone will ever read it, ever, it dawns on me that every writer goes through this all. the. time. No matter how famous or published or unpublished or middle of the road. Every writer thinks their stuff is shit. Until one day...it just isn't. It might be the second draft or the tenth draft but at some point you love it and/or better yet someone else loves it and publishes it. Fact still remains, at some point in the process you were sitting on your couch, watching the blizzard outside, drinking cold coffee with lonely globs of whipped cream floating in it thinking "Wow. Does this ever suck. And if it wasn't for my husband, I would be living in a box on the street."
So this year, I will not have any sort of agenda for the conference. Perhaps I will run into Michael Slade at the coffee station again, that was fun. Or sit with someone fantastic at lunch like Robert Dugoni. So super interesting. And I am looking forward to finding my "Table 30" friends and fan girling all over Tom because I really did like his book, werewolves and all. He will sign my copy and it will be a highlight of my week.
But how about I just relax on the pressure and see where it goes? Because I can't force this book out of my head, it just doesn't work like that for me. But...because of the Greats like Stephen King, I won't stop. But I think I really am just shovelling shit from a sitting position right now.