DFWCON Recap

Okay so, for those who don’t follow along on my Twitter, this weekend I had the privilege of attending my very first writing conference. I’m not sure what I expected, and I was more than a little nervous, but the experience was absolutely invaluable. LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.


A Natural Introvert In a Room of 400+

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I, like many other writers, am a natural introvert with a degree of social anxiety. I find it very difficult to start conversations in most situations. Yet, one of the most surprising things about this weekend was 1) how easy I found it to talk to people and 2) my regret on Sunday evening that I didn’t manage to talk to more people. It turned out that after my initial anxiety was surmounted, I had a thousand questions I wanted to ask everyone I came across.

Is this your first time? Where are you from? What do you write? Is it finished? Are you pitching? Who are you pitching? What else is in your back catalog? What writing program do you use? Pantser or plotter? What classes are you going to?

It got to a point where I almost wish I had a microphone and a podcast to blame my incessant interrogating on. But, I couldn’t help myself. It was the first time I had the opportunity to be around other writers. It was so nice to be able to talk about things like word count and genre nuance with people who get it, and that relief was the biggest factor in overcoming my anxiety.


Classes, Lectures, and Panels, Oh My!

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I was telling people by the end of it all that my brain felt like a sponge that had absorbed as much water as it was physically capable, and all I wanted to do was get home and squeeze it out all over the page.

There was so many great classes to choose from that I was driven into a panic because I couldn’t actually pull a Hermione and go to all of them. I will say I came away just a little disappointed, not in any of the classes or presenters themselves, but in my own inability to streamline what I wanted to get out of the conference. I bounced around from topic to topic based on a whim, whereas I felt I probably would have gotten a lot more out of it if I had really considered what would be the most useful to me at this precise moment in my writing career. Oh well, lessons for next time.


Community

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This really goes without saying, but the writing community is rad. It just is. I mean, I knew that before the conference, just based on how welcoming and supportive the online space has been. But for an introvert with social anxiety, moving those interactions into the physical realm came with new bunch of questions and fears. Sitting amongst all those fellow aspiring and successful authors, I found myself often wondering if I even belonged there. I don’t have a completed manuscript (first draft notwithstanding), I don’t have a back catalog, I’ve never queried or pitched. At 31 years old, I have as much (or less!) experience as an 18 year old.

And yet, no one ever made me feel that way. Even as I admitted, somewhat shamefaced, that I only just finished my very first first draft but a short two weeks prior, I was greeted with congratulations and high fives, even from some who had 12 books under their belts. It never felt condescending or placating, but spoke to the universal truth that writing is hard and in that little conference center, we really were all in it together.


All told, I left on Sunday creatively invigorated. I couldn’t wait to get back to the page. I had a hundred thousand ideas I wanted to get to and I still found myself pushing for more. I felt even more determined to make this the year I start treating writing as a job so that one day it will be my actual job. I found myself wishing there could be a conference once a month (my wallet would never survive) just so I could soak myself in that determination any time I felt low.

Thank you so much to the DFW Writers’ Workshop for putting on such an amazing experience. I’ll definitely be back next year.


That’s all from me this week. I’ll be back next week, probably with that previously promised post (how’s that for alliteration?) about Writing For Yourself. But! If you lovelies have any ideas for some topics you’d like me to tackle, be it authors behaving badly, craft, or even how the weather affects my writing, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter.

Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Writing While Introverted

Manuscript News

The key word in this blog’s name, and the central theme all around, has been the struggle. I’m not under any illusions that this process was ever going to be, or ever will be, easy. Some people think that talking about your struggles is poor marketing, or that it might damage your “brand” but, hell what do I know? From the very beginning I had decided that I was going to on this journey with anyone who might care to join me. Ups and downs included.

So, to the point. Writing has been especially hard for me lately. It’s entirely psychological, but there it is. I haven’t been able to recapture the magic I feel I had back in November. I’ve tried, as anyone who has read this blog might know already, all sorts of carrots and sticks to spur me back to productivity, and nothing has really stuck.

I can’t be the only one who thinks about their unfinished manuscript with a sense of… contempt, almost. Not at the words themselves, but at the work required to complete the project. I’m in that stage where part of me is wondering, “Why the hell would anyone ever write a book? Why on earth did I even bother trying?”

This phase doesn’t last forever… right?

It’s a good thing I’m too stubborn to give up entirely at this point. Though, I don’t think stubborn is the right word. Self-consciousness is more accurate. The embarrassment if I don’t finish…

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The Weekly Struggle

So, this week I have been struggling to reconcile a facet of my personality with potential events that could prove tremendously helpful in my writing journey, even if they might run afoul of said personality trait.

I am an introvert with social anxiety — that much is an undeniable truth. I prefer to be at home, on my couch and in my jammies, with reruns of Mythbusters playing in the background while I do my writing. I have always been this way, as long as I can remember. I have a few close friends who can pull me from my fortress of solitude on occasion, but my natural inclination to stay homebound coupled with the task of parenting three young children means that the majority of my socializing is done digitally. And I’m fine with that.

However, I’ve been starting to think quite seriously about local writing groups. I see their virtues extoled online and the reality is joining one, at this stage of my infant “career” (are you even legally allowed to use that word if you haven’t finished a MS?), a group can only be a benefit. I live in a sizable metro area and just a quick google search brought up numerous writing groups within a reasonable driving distance. One such group is prolific enough to put on a conference every year (more on that in another post entirely.

Perfect, I thought. And then the anxiety set in.

What if I get turned away because I’m only on my first draft? I find myself wondering. What if I submit for critiques and I cry in front of everyone when given negative feedback? What if I’m on the only genre fiction writer, or worse — what if they don’t even want a genre fiction writer?

And from there I go down the rabbit hole. I make excuses — this group meets on a designated non-writing day so that’s out. This one meets on nights when I have my kids, so can’t do that one. Already had plans to stay home and do nothing on that day, so I guess I’ll skip this monthly meeting.

I know the only way I’ll ever get through this mental paralysis is to, well…

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But, in my experience, getting over that first hump is the hardest part.

My first opportunity to try out a group is this Friday. It’s a weekly write in at a café, which really is perfect because there’s minimal socializing required. It’s all the writing I’m already going to do, just…near other people (there’s the option to chat after the writing hour is up, of course).

I’m trying to battle past the anxiety (what if I show up and no one else is there??) and the excuses (well, my partner and I had tentative plans to play video games that night so…), because I really do think it would be beneficial to get out of the house and rub elbows with other writers.

Fellow writers, if I may ask, what has your experience been with local writing groups?


What I’m Reading This Week

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Tree of Ages, by Sara C Roethle

I’ve had this book in my Kindle library forever, but for whatever reason I only just started it this weekend. And let me tell you, this story has an incredible hook. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. [insert wink emoji]


That’s enough babbling from me for one week. Until next time!

-Kerry Share

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