Daily Archives: July 23, 2010

Home again, home again. Jiggity-jig.

Okay, so it wasn’t quite that fast.  Forty eight hours on a bus in less than a week is more snailish than anything.  Certainly not worthy of jigging.  But home, sweet home.  Nothing in the world is like it.

After six nights of sleeping in various beds, I finally got to sleep in my own last night.  I woke up to my alarm clock–a soothing melody–and not the annoying buzz of the hotel version.  I drank my coffee, not a six-dollar Starbucks’.  At home, I get free refills and don’t have to wait in line.

Don’t get me wrong.  The Youth Gathering was amazing.  The food delicious.  The atmosphere out of this world.  I recharged my spirit and soaked up the energy of thousands of kids.  I even participated in the Guinness worthy “largest boomwhacker choir”.  It was a blast.

Writing conferences are like that.  They energize the soul and spark the creative muse.  They feed us with delicious tidbits and foster lasting friendships.  They are the lifeblood and the pulse of the writing community.

But at the end of it all, the experience is nothing more than a jumping off point.  At a National Youth Gathering with 30,000 people or a conference with 120 people, the experience is ours to take from and use when we get home.

 I guarantee you that returning to the comfort of your bed, your morning coffee and the melodious buzz of your real life will suck the energy away if you do not foster it. 

You can lead a horse to water…

You can equip a writer or a Christian with all the tools they need to succeed in their newfound lifestyle, but you cannot make them use the tools you have given them.  Nor should they use every one immediately.

Vomiting children will take time and patience.  Demanding jobs will suck up valuable time.  Significant others will require the return of our affection and rejections will weigh us down. 

My recommendation for those who attend conferences, conventions or gatherings of any sort is this:

Incorporate only one or two things into your real life.

Seriously.  Just one or two.  We hear so many great ideas and become passionate about applying each and every one to our lives–writing or otherwise.  But it is too much.  We simply cannot maintain a healthy relationship with our pre-conference/gathering/convention lives and our post ones if we try to do it all.

How do you stay energized after attending mass events?  What tips can you provide that will help us balance our pre and post lives and still come out better for the experience?

Have you ever returned home from a mass event only to find yourself more dejected or unsure than when you left?  If so, why and how did you overcome it?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Seven Writing Sins: Wrath

Feel my rash.

My DH’s brother cracks me up with his idosyncracies of the oral language.  We are all guilty of mixing up our words and saying something we never intended to say.

The written word is even more difficult to decipher accurately due to the lack of body language and inflection.  Yet writers continue to engage in written warfare on the web.

Wrath is expressed in haughty emails after a rejection by an agent.  It can be found in dissenting comments on blog posts.  Forums are rife with wrathful expressions by frustrated or angry writers.

Whenever we open our mouths, in real time or metaphorically, we run the risk of offending someone important.  A particularly nasty comment about African, Jewish book writers ten years ago can, and does, crop up in an agent’s google search.  Too bad for us that Dream Agent hails from Nigeria and has Jewish grandparents.   

WRATH=REJECTION

The whole purpose of  being a writer is to sell material.  To agents.  To editors.  To the reading public.  We cannot do so if we continue to engage in verbal warfare.  There is a way to express opinions appropriately.  Slandering others on the internet is not the way to do so.  It will alienate readers and garner instant rejection by those in the know.

  • Write with care.  What you say can potentially affect people you like, trust and respect.  The feelings will not remain mutual if you can’t keep your slander to yourself.
  • Write with respect.  Don’t diss people, even if you disagree with them.  Rather, disagree with the comment, the method or the point of view. 
  • Do not engage in heated debates in public places.  These biting words will come back to haunt you–and your potential book.
  • If you can’t say something nice…

Well, you get the picture.  Play nice in the publishing sandbox and others will play nice with you.

How do you combat the urge to shoot off a surley message?  What are some ways to control your temper while still fighting the good fight?