Less than two weeks ago, I landed in my semi-hometown of San Antonio, Texas, to attend the 2014 RWA National conference. Though I’ve attended big trade show events in my non-writing past, it was the first time I’d been to a huge national writing conference. Therefore, I purposely didn’t set any goals for the conference because I didn’t know what to expect.
Holy crap, that was a mistake. By Friday morning, I was practically frozen in the fetal position on that impossibly comfortable Marriott bed. I’ve been trying to make sense of what happened ever since I came back, but I think it boils down to this: I went in with desire, but no purpose, and being the strongly expressed INFJ that I am, everything just sort of folded in on me.
Purposeless desire. I should have known it never works. A classic romance hero mistake…Yeah, baby, whatever. You want me? That’s cool. You don’t? Also fine. No big deal.
Things usually don’t go well for heroes like that. Like, extra not-well. Have you noticed? Those heroes that think they don’t need to put a stake in the ground, don’t need to invest, they suffer more than the heroes who are in it to win it. In the end, the I don’t have any real feelings about you one way or the other, chillaxed approach only results in an extra helping of angst when the hero finally does realize that he feels strongly about his love. Don’t get me wrong, I lurv those stories, where the hero is all crazy with nerves by the end, and he gets all tortured and frozen in the fetal position on a proverbial Marriott bed (which, thankfully, is supremely comfortable and jammed full of perfect-firmness pillows). But in real life, when I’m that hero, and haven’t declared myself to…well, myself…it’s a problem. It hurts extra bad toward the end.
The conference was overwhelmingly awesome. I’ll say that first. But it was also awesomely overwhelming, and I got to thinking about how, for me or someone like me, walking in to a situation like that, shrugging, and being all, No problem, honey buns, let’s just roll with this, is basically like saying, I want to be extra tortured later on.
So this was my lesson learned from my very first major writer’s conference. I need purpose to be sane. And I need to declare that purpose to myself from the very start and work toward it like a honey badger. Because for me, purpose is as much about getting shit done as it is about declaring myself in love with my physical and mental well-being…in the future, I’ll save all that angst for my fictional characters.