Sunday, September 20, 2009

Work or Recreation?

By Nichole Giles (Well, who else would it be by?)

This weekend I had the privilege and opportunity to attend another writer’s conference. This one was for the League of Utah Writers. I try to go to as many conferences as I can (you know, if time and budget both allow) because I am of the opinion that I need to learn all I can, and network, and all that good stuff. Plus, it’s fun.

It was held in Midway, Utah, which—if you’ve never been there—is a tiny mountain town, surrounded by trees, and grass, and gorgeous mountains. The view was absolutely stunning with the colors beginning to change and the sky going from clear, to cloudy, to rainy, and then clear again. But the most awesome part—aside from the uber-informative classes that will definitely help me hone my writing skills—was hanging out with so many awesome, incredibly talented authors.

Anyway, as a group of us were hanging out, we got into a discussion about movies, and the merits of watching them to see how the plots progress, and to notice dialogue and things. I have to admit, most of the movies that came up for discussions I either never saw or saw so long ago that I have about zero recollection of details. But the point is that we made the conclusion (or at least, James Dashner did, and then convinced us all to subscribe to his way of thinking) that seeing movies is as important a part of our job as reading books.

Seriously, after the discussion, I decided James is absolutely right. I should totally see more movies. In fact, I should make a point to watch old movies when I can, too. (Remind me to ask my accountant if there’s any way I can deduct the price of movie tickets…)
(In the picture: James Dashner, Clint Johnson.)

What other people do in their off time for entertainment is actually part of what we do as artists and writers. I love that thought! And you know what else? Going to conferences where we can sit (or stand) around having intelligent conversations about the merits of this movie or that, or this book or that and why this worked but that didn’t is also part of our job. (I did know that, by the way.)
(In this picture: Rachelle Christensen, Connie Hall, Me.)

The problem I’m having is that it just doesn’t feel like work. Not that writing always does either, but at least that requires my butt being in a chair and my computer on (or notebook open) and concentrating for blocks of time. Hanging out chatting with friends (who also happen to be authors/agents/editors) feels more like recreation, just like seeing movies.

So the question begs to be asked: Can there be a more rewarding, fulfilling, awesome career on the planet?

Hm. I’m thinking no. No way, no how. I’ll take my rejections and run with them (and by the way, I’m accumulating quite the collection) because this is definitely where I want to be, what I want to be doing. It’s my dream career. How ever did I—lowly housewife and mother—get so lucky?
(In this picture: Heather Moore and Richard Paul Evans.)

For your enjoyment, a few pictures of some of my author friends at this conference. (Somehow, I failed to get a picture of all of us together, and didn’t get one of Eric Swedin, and a few others who were also our conference buddies. My bad, and now I’m sorry. Catch you all next time, guys! And just for clarification--I don't personally know Richard Paul Evans, but I did meet him and can testify that he is genuine, kind, and extremely smart.)


Carolyn V. said...

I'm a little sad that I missed the conference this year. I was out of town. I'll have to plan on it next year. Thanks for filling us in! =)

Nichole Giles said...

Carolyn, it would have been fun to have you there. Maybe next time? I'll see you sometime soon, I'm sure.