Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reality Bites

Yeah, I know that title doesn't belong to me, but it fits so I'm using it. I mean, wouldn't you rather be hugging Bruce Hale (Mr. Chet Gecko himself!) instead of doing laundry? But sadly, laundry is my reality.

After the collective high of being surrounded by so much creativity and energy and success, it's hard to come home to wash dishes and clean up dog barf. I'd rather be writing. But the kids want my attention, the house needs my attention and it might be a while before I get to hole up with my WIP and apply some of the wonderful thoughts that filled my brain for the last four days.

I'm grateful that Team Blog provided crib notes on some of the workshops I wanted to attend. There was so much great stuff to choose from, sometimes it was hard to decide where to go. And sometimes I just had to find a place to chill. Information overload can be harmful to your system (or maybe that was just an excuse to get away from the crowds and hang out with some of the great people I met!)

In the final speech of the conference, Kathleen Duey had these recommendations for preserving the best of SCBWI-LA at home (and of course these would apply to any type of writing event you're at):

Write down important conversations.

On the back of business cards, write down how you met the person. (I saw Rachel doing this days before Kathleen Duey's speech =)

Annotate notes (or blog about them!).

Contact everyone who gave you a business card.

Put the gems that people said on the wall.

Take a few days before you jump in to where you were and experiment with some of what you learned.

Try hard to hold on to the validation of your art.

Announce your renewed serious intent and explain it to family and friends.

That last one is hard, at least for me. Until I'm published, family and friends see this as a hobby. They don't understand why it's taking so long, why they can't buy my book at B&N yet or why I don't just self-publish. The looks on their faces mirror the doubt I sometimes feel. Am I good enough? Yeah, I think I am. And getting better, thanks to conferences like this, critiquing buddies and constant writing and revising.

So here I go, to put it into action. I guess it's not so much that reality bites. What bites is trying to have a real life when all you want to do is write about somebody else's life...without interruption. Here's to all of us working toward that dream =)


lisa and laura said...

Welcome home! I just had an ex-coworker tell me about this fabulous deal I could get if I self published. I did my best to resist telling her to go...well, it's not blog appropriate. I'm sure you get the idea. Totally understand your frustration!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Amen, dear. Amen.

Sherrie Petersen said...

LiLa - It's good to be home (well, except for the cleaning). If one more person tells me to self-publish I might go postal on them!

Sarah - Thanks. It was SO good to meet you =)

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh,I can so totally relate! Both to the coming home and to the self-publishing remarks!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

here here! you are so close!

Kelly Polark said...

I'm still doing laundry from our 11 day vacay away. Ugh!
I hear you on the "hobby" thing. I even was so naive when I started writing. I never realized how extremely competitive this biz is. So I try to explain that to the family. But still some of it doesn't sink in I think.

Casey Something said...

The housework. The kids. The husbands. The stuff and the things that keep us from writing. I know them so well. But, life is good anyway, huh? Though, I'm sure we could stand to lose some housework. Ha!

Rebecca Gomez said...

I have to say, just mentioning the words "dog barf" makes me think HUMOR WRITING! Even better, dog poop on the carpet right next to where daddy and son are wrestling.

Who DIDN'T let the dog out?

Seriously, though, thanks for sharing about your experience. I love to glean as much conference goodness from those who are fortunate enough to attend.

Vivian Mahoney said...


Despite the piles of laundry, the taking care of family, and other bits of reality (don't you just love comments from well-meaning friends and family?).

You're working toward your goal and getting the word out about your work. Keep going! You are going to do it!

PJ Hoover said...

Thank you for all the fabulous tips from the conference! I'm so wishing i went. Ah, choices. There is always next year!

Elana Johnson said...

I'm glad you had a great time! I swear I'm going to get to this conference one day.

And keep at it! You'll totally make it.

Anita said...

For me, when I write, I finally feel like I have a life. All the other stuff I do all day is for everyone else, but the writing is for me. I know where you're coming from.

Anita said...

For me, when I write, I finally feel like I have a life. All the other stuff I do all day is for everyone else, but the writing is for me. I know where you're coming from.

Cuppa Jolie said...

Great advice, Sherrie. It was so wonderful to meet you. I hope my left is as lucky as my right. :)

C.R. Evers said...

It must have been awesome to listen to Kathleen Duey speak. I love her!

I can relate to this post. W/ 3 kiddo's 2 dogs and a cat, there is always house work to be done and when I'm writing, I know that something is being neglected. It makes it harder to stay focused.

Great post!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Corey - You've already got a book out so no one should be giving you grief about self-publishing!

Shelli - Thanks! Loved hanging out with you =)

Kelly - I know it doesn't sink in with my family. My mother gave me an article on self-publishing that was in the Costco magazine and I just had to grit my teeth and smile.

Casey - I would love to lose some housework!

Rebecca - Oh, my life is FULL of that kind of humor. Only I'm not laughing as I clean it up (and I'm sure you're not either)! I'm glad my notes on the conference were useful to you =)

Vivian - Thanks for the encouragement.

PJ - I'm glad the tips were useful for you. Your mini conference looked great, too!

ElanaJ - I hope when you go, I'm there too. I'd love to meet you!

Anita - I do think of writing as me time. And we don't get enough of it, do we?

Jolie - I think there was a lucky vibe going through the whole weekend. We just might have to be patient enough for that luck to show up =)

Christy - Kathleen was an amazing speaker. She signed a book for my daughter later and I really enjoyed talking to her in person as well.

Carrie Harris said...

Oh yeah, the hobby thing. I am sooooo familiar with the hobby thing. :) But something tells me you'll get past that one!

Ara Burklund said...

Hey, Sherrie! I kept meaning to ask if you were "Solvang Sherrie" but never got around to it at the conference. I always see you over at Suzanne C's blog. Nice meeting you in person! (I was the blond with the slutty-girl-scientist story, sitting next to Rachel in our Sunday night critique group.) Anyway, loved your work! : )

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

girl - do we have the same family and friends - mine say the exact same thing. *sigh*.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen Julie & Julia yet? There's so much of this in there--and I just hadn't heard that yet. It's SUCH a juggling act, and the thing we have to remember, I think, is that it's important TO US and it's up to us to keep at it. Sounds preachy, probably just cause I'm trying to pound that into my own head these days!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Carrie - When our books come out, just to be snarky, we'll put copies of our books in the hobby section and direct our families there =)

Ara - So glad you found me! I can't wait to hear more about your book (slutty or not!)

Shelli - Give it a few years and they'll change their tunes. I hope!

Becky - I do want to see J&J. Now even more so!

Sarah Laurenson said...

You seriously got around. Here's another picture of you from the conference.

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