I just got home from the New England Chapter’s conference in Framingham, MA. This is the third year I’ve gone. I always meet up with old friends and get to put faces to authors I’ve only met on the internet. In the grand scheme of things … it’s a wonderful weekend.

It was a weekend filled with speakers and workshops, free books and socializing. I had fun. Really, I did. But the one thing these things always do, which they shouldn’t … is depress me. I know. I know. I’m supposed to leave re-energized and ready to tackle new writing projects. But writing conventions always seem to have the opposite effect on me.

It’s so hard for me to pick up books by the keynote speakers. Books that are in print by major NY publishers and for which, the author got a real advance. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for the authors. I am. But at the same time … I’m envious. Yes, these women have worked very hard. They have toiled at their computers creating amazing characters with wonderfully compelling stories to tell. I don’t begrudge them their success. It’s just that … I want it.

I have been blessed with many things in my life, patience just isn’t one of them. I wanted to sit at my computer five years ago, pound out my first manuscript and become an overnight success. Yeeeeeah, well that didn’t quite happen. Not even close. I’m still working to build my readership and therefore increase my sales so that my writing makes me a decent living. (I was a teacher before this … so really, I’m not asking much. *g*)

I know when I go to conventions that seeing the success of others will set me back a couple of days. Never mind that it took some of these authors 10, 12 and in some cases, 20 years to reach the point where they’re at. Every new multi-book contract celebrated, every contest win, every print book signed just digs at me a little tiny bit and ratchets up my frustration. Then I have to come home and settle myself and remind myself that very little in the publishing industry happens quickly.

So you’re asking yourself why I go. Why do I put myself through all of that? The answer is … the authors. Authors are about the most generous, giving people I know. They commiserate with you over your heartaches and celebrate your triumphs. They share their journeys without reservation and help smooth the road for those that follow. There aren’t many professions that can boast the same. Besides … what’s not to enjoy about hanging with everyone in the bar? Oh, yeah, that’s another definite plus, enjoying the easy camaraderie of the profession.

I have no doubt I’ll go again next year. I just know that when I return I’ll need to set aside a couple of days to recouperate and get back on track. Unless of course I have my own six figure three book deal in the works. Hey … a gal can dream!

0 Responses to When the Opposite Happens

  • I understand completely. I get that same split feeling after writer’s conferences – part of me is really fired up and another part is really depressed. I think it is that damnable “inner critic” that is responsible for the depressed feeling. That evil little homunculus in the back of your head that is saying, “you’re a hack, everyting you write is crap; give up”. We are all too ready to listen to this inner critic. Its is the reason that we revise our first chapter 20 or more times before writing one word of chapter 2. It is why there are half a dozen or more unfinished manuscripts on our hard drives.

    I think that the only real cure is to start writing(NOT revising) as soon as we get home from the conference, sooner if we can either use our laptops on the plane, or we can write long hand in a notebook.

    There really should be a 12-step group to help writers recover from the evil deeds of the inner critic.

  • I also suffer from patience-deficit disorder (PDD). It’s a rough affliction, causing crankiness, occasional sleeplessness and a line on the forehead, right between the eyes.

    It’s hard not to be envious in the face of someone who has exactly what you want. As a brand-spankin’ new writer, just about everyone around me is farther along than I am, but I try to soak in every ounce of knowledge I can get from anyone willing to talk to me about their experiences. For me, listening to the NYT bestseller at the podium just stokes that fire in my belly to get THERE.

  • Linda – Ya know … I never thought of the inner critic raising its damnable head, but that’s exactly what it is. Sign me up when you start that 12 step program. 😉

    Meg – ah, PDD … definitely me. LOL! And I’m working at letting the experience stoke the fire rather than dousing the flame.

  • What an honest post.
    I’m reading it and I have to admit it caught me completely by surprise. Not many people can confess your admission. I think that’s awesome, Nina!

    When I say this, Nina, it’s not to boost your ego or try to make you feel better. But I look at you, your writing, and the books you have published and you are my goal. I want to be multi-published and award-winning. As a new author, and I believe I can safely speak for other new authors, we aspire to what you’ve already labored to be. Like you said, the NY contracts will come with time. And I believe it is as possible for any of us as it was for Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole and even Nora Roberts! And the cool thing? We’ll all celebrate each other’s success too.

    I hope you had a big, BIG cup of strawberry ice cream and write those blues away. There’s no better way, that I’ve found, to get over that depression than getting engrossed in a new story that excites me! And from reading your books I KNOW they must do the same for you when you’re writing them!

  • Naima – See, that’s why I shared. I think there’s some guilt when we feel the envy or even jealousy over the success of others … but I believe in facing those demons. And I totally agree with you. The brass ring is out there for all of us, we just have to be daring enough to reach for it.

  • Kudos for expressing yourself so honestly. Feeling a bit envious is human – it’s what makes us strive. The trick is to use those feelings in a positive way, as a motivation. Sure, I’d like to be the next Suzanne Brockman, but I won’t get there by stewing about how lucky she is. I need to put in the hours and hours of work, research, “blood, sweat & tears” that she has. And if all the stars align, I’ll get my success too.

    Okay, milady, now that you’ve had your few days of recuperation, I guess you’re back to work, right?? hehe

  • Lu – You know. Currently working on a “Quickie” for EC trying to get the juices flowing with a little kickass bondage. 😀

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