In four days, I’ll be leaving for New York City.
Not only is this my first trip to NYC, it’ll be my first RWA National conference. Needless to say, I’m nervous — and seeing all the chatter online isn’t easing my jitters.
In an attempt to stay sane while I get ready to go, I’ve been spending too much time online, looking for hints and tricks on how to make the most of the conference experience.
Lucky for me, there’s plenty of advice out there to be had.
First off, packing — of which I’ve done none yet. (Procrastinating at its finest.) Yes, I’ve purchased my Golden Heart® awards ceremony dress, and clothes to wear during the conference. But the thought of packing it all in one suitcase — or worse, one small carry-on bag — terrifies me.
One of the Starcatchers (the name the 2011 Golden Heart class picked), Erin Kelly, shared these great packing tips. While I doubt I’ll be able to stuff a full-length, full-skirted gown into a carry-on with enough clothes, shoes and underwear for the rest of the week, I plan to use as many of her hints as I can.
When I get to NYC (hopefully with my luggage), what do I do? Who do I see? How can I survive pitching to an agent and editor? Bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle posted a collection of tried and true conference advice.
At Once Written, Twice Shy, another Starcatcher, Kimberly Kincaid, posted The Sassy Girl’s Guide to Success at RWA Nationals. Helpful even though I don’t consider myself shy. Quiet, yes (although my coworkers might disagree) … shy, no.
Of course, the Rubies have been posting helpful info, too. They’re always full of good advice. Check out Tamara Hogan’s Introverts Guide to RWA Nationals and the indispensable guide for those not lucky enough to be going to conference: My Ruby Sisters Went to New York and All I Got Was aT-Shirt.
I have a confession to make: I have story ADD.
Raise your hand if, like me, you have trouble concentrating on one story at a time. … If characters start talking to you, demanding you tell their story now — even when you’re in the middle of another one. … If you have a bunch of half- or two-thirds-finished manuscripts moldering under your bed.
They all get finished eventually, but I’ve always had a little trouble focusing on one story from start to finish.
Since March’s call notifying me that I’d finaled in the RWA Golden Heart®, the affliction has intensified. Reasoning that if “Beauty and the Ballplayer” was going to be the successful MS, I ought to have a companion, I decided to start a new story related to it. So I started working on Dave & Melinda’s story while actively writing Beth & Cody’s and trying to edit Kenny & Kristi’s.
That left poor Drew & Lainy waiting waiting in the wings. I’d planned to finish writing their story after I started querying with Kenny & Kristi.
Nearly three months later and I still haven’t even written the query/synopsis on Kenny & Kristi. I’ve written only a handful of pages on Beth & Cody’s story and am just five chapters into Dave & Melinda’s.
Every time I get any momentum, I end up coming to a dead stop to do something else entirely. “Beauty and the Ballplayer” needs revising … or I need to shop for stuff to wear at Nationals … or I need to do other conference prep (business cards, pitches, schedule planning). The list goes on and on.
I’m not complaining, mind you. As far as problems go, this is one a lot people would love to have — me included. I’m thrilled to be a GH finalist — and going to Nationals in NYC is a fantastic opportunity that I hadn’t counted on getting.
I’m just saying all this planning/panic does nothing to help my story-related ADD.
Please tell me I’m not the only one with this problem.
How do you cope with conference prep while still managing to get any writing done?
I normally don’t pay much attention to my horoscope.
Oh sure, I know my sign — Libra — and the signs of family. I even check my horoscope every Thursday, when I’m putting together the Sunday puzzle page for the newspaper. I’ll also read it if I stumble across it in a magazine.
But believe it? Not a chance. It’s entertainment, like a movie or a particularly hilarious Twitter stream.
Some horoscopes stick with me, though. The one I read in the June issue of Sedona Monthly is one of those:
This should be your current mantra: authentic. No matter what is coming at you, stay true to yourself. Remain centered and remember who you are. It will be hard, since people are coming at you from all sides with unexpected opportunities. As long as you remain faithful to your heart, you will be able to enjoy the attention and support you are getting from people you never imagined would notice poor little old you.”
Given all the attention I’ve been getting since finaling in the Golden Heart®, this prediction really hit home for me.
As I gear up for my first RWA Nationals, opportunities are starting to come my way — and I expect more at the conference. (The power of positive thinking at work, right?)
According to this horoscope, I just need to stay true to myself. Easy-peasy, right? Nobody knows me better than me!
As much as I love my RWA Golden Heart® finaling MS, “Beauty and the Ballplayer,” I’m beginning to think it’s cursed.
Longtime readers of this blog will remember that I somehow lost the last 50 or so pages of B&B. It simply was gone from its Word document. Thank goodness I had a hard copy. All I had to do was retype — not completely reconstruct.
The MS has changed since then, of course. I finished the revisions detailed on all those Post-It notes on May 21.
On Monday, I received an agent request for the full. I took my GH sisters’ advice to read through the MS one more time before sending it off — and am I glad I did. Somehow, the version of B&B on my flash drive wasn’t the most recent version. Scenes that I’d deleted were still there and new additions were nowhere to be found.
Oh, the horror! My heart skipped more than one beat.
Luckily, I was able to boot up my wonky computer and retrieve a more recent version from the desktop. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that even that one didn’t contain the completed new draft.
I just spent four-plus highly caffeinated hours at Starbucks, rewriting a scene near the end and then editing out the rest of the things that needed to go to live up to the revised version.
I’ve also learned a very valuable lesson. This time, I e-mailed myself a copy of the completed revisions — both as an attachment and in the body of the e-mail. I’m not going to get caught without the most recent version again.