This weekend I am off to my local SCBWI chapter's spring retreat.
I went to this event last year...it was my very first writing event ever. I was so incredibly nervous about it. I thought about it the entire week before hand. I typed angst-ridden e-mails to my writing group about it. I sat in my car for like 20 min after I pulled in to the parking lot before I could bring myself to go inside. (That's a thing I do. I have some social anxiety problems every now and then.)
I don't know what I was expecting. That I would be ignored? That people would be mean to me in some way? My only experience with other writers at that time was my novel workshop class, which was really a mixed bag of people writing a mixed bag of genres, and they weren't all nice. I didn't realize at the time just how kind and welcoming the kidlit community was.
Of course, everyone ended up being super amazing. I met so many nice people, and I had a great time. It was the first time I got overwhelming positive feedback on my writing (my novel critique class was full of "literary" writers who didn't really get YA, so I always got mixed feedback from them), and I thought, okay, maybe I don't totally suck at this.
And, those of you who have been to conferences or have real life writing friends can attest to this, there is just something about being able to TALK about all of this writing stuff with actual other people out loud that is so comforting. It was so much fun to have conversations about it all in real life and not just online.
So now I'm going back, one year later. It's weird...I'm still working on the same project. But I have some so far with it, and I have come so far in my life as a writer. I've also come a long way with writing events. While this one scared me last year, I totally seek them out now. And this year I will actually know other people who are going to be there. I won't feel like a loner, and I won't sit awkwardly in my car for 20 minutes trying to build up the courage to go inside. This year I'm actually excited about it.
Have you been to any writing events? How were they? Do you have any coming up?