Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Worth The Cost

Over the past month, I’ve had several people ask me why I chose to go all the way to Phoenix for the ANWA conference this past weekend. It’s not a huge conference, and several of the speakers are authors who will also be teaching at the upcoming LDStorymakers conference in April here in Utah. The conference itself wasn’t expensive, but if I add up the cost of hotel and transportation, it did cost me a bit more that I’m usually willing to pay. But I did it anyway, because I wanted to go, and because I felt like I was supposed to be there for one reason or another.

Did I get my money’s worth? Yeah, I did. I had several important ah-ha moments, got some great advice, and heard words that felt custom designed for me. And yes, I’d do it again; even though I won’t even try to pinpoint the “reason” I was supposed to go. At least, not yet. I think sometimes we just get to know that we got something important from following that spiritual direction, even if we’re not able to give a name to the blessings that come from it.

That said, I will tell you a little about my favorite classes. J. Scott Savage gave the keynote address, during which he talked about the importance of setting proper expectations for ourselves. We made a list of things we can control versus those which we can’t. For instance, we can’t control what an agent wants, but we can do our best work and send it out there. We can’t control what’s “in” in the market or being in the right time and place, but we can polish our query and submit often. We can’t control how long an agent takes to get back to us, but we can send our query and then get right to work on the next project.

He also touched on several other subjects, like the folly of comparing ourselves to other authors—since we’re all individual and shouldn’t even WANT to be the same as someone else. He gave us tips on overcoming writers block and reminded us that it’s always darkest before the dawn. Which translates to, the journey’s always hardest right before you stumble into success. I loved that part, but my favorite piece of advice is that we break through the barriers to reach our potential.

Amen and nuff said. Thanks for that, Jeff. (He also had a class about finding an agent, which was also crammed with excellent advice.)

Later in the day, Aprilynne Pike talked about the life cycle of a writer and all the highs and lows we go through, even after we’ve signed with an agent and /or publisher. I loved her analogies, and though I didn’t get the exact steps written down, left the class with one thing to remember: I am a capable writer with an original story to tell. I think I’ll print that one and put it on my bathroom mirror as a reminder. Thanks, Aprilynne.

Helen Blair then spoke to us about tapping our subconscious minds, and helping our conscious and subconscious minds to play nicely together in order to reach our potential for creativity. She taught us how each part works, and why we sometimes suffer the effects of writers block. This class really spoke to me because I’m a big, big believer in this kind of thinking, and I found the whole lesson fascinating. Again, a whole class of takeaway for me, but during this session, I had a sudden epiphany of an important paragraph that needs to go in the beginning of one of my books. Yes, I wrote it down. And yes, it was a very important realization. Say it with me: Ah-ha!

There were several other classes I could tell you about, and other things I learned. But seriously, I need to get back to work on my book. I will say, though, that the ANWA ladies did a great job of putting this conference together, and for all the people who are wondering if it was worth it, the answer is yes. Yes it was.

Now, before I forget, there are lots of fun things happening on my blog this month. Check back on Friday for another big giveaway being held in conjunction with a book launch for my good friend Rachelle Christensen, who’s book Wrong Number is now available online and in stores. During this promotion, I’ll be giving away one copy of my new book, The Sharp Edge of a Knife, which is now available online, and should be in stores very soon. Following that, I’m launching my book (see title above) with a blog tour and more giveaways. I’m also planning a physical launch party, so watch for that announcement as well. (Still working on location—sorry for the delay.) Also, keep an eye on my event list on the sidebar to see where you can come meet me in person. Lots of fun events happening in March!

And now, I’m really getting back to work. Have a great day and write on.


David J. West said...

Glad it was worthwhile Nichole. I am reminded of T.S. Elliot saying "Time we enjoy wasting is not wasted time."

L.T. Elliot said...

Glad you had a great time and I'm sorry I missed it. I'm very happy about that paragraph you got written down and I can't wait for your launch. Best of success, Nichole!

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks David and L.T..

I will say that I've never regretted going to a single conference, but I have regretted not going to a few. Money aside. Does that make sense?


Dreamer said...

I was just going to email you asking about your weekend. I'm glad I checked your blog first! Great post.

ali said...

Wow! Those a-ha moments of yours sound TOTALLY worth it! Yay for you! And thank so much for sharing a few of them, I love learning from you! ♥

Karlene said...

Networking alone can be worth the effort and expense.

Yes, let's get together. In a couple of weeks. Right now I'm pulling double Grandma Days and am way behind it work.

Maybe after the 15th-ish? I'm usually very flexible on M&F.

Rachelle said...

Thanks for sharing some of what you learned. Sounds like a wonderful conference.
Good luck with that writing shot in the arm you got!

Marsha Ward said...

It was delightful to see you again this weekend, Nichole. I'm so glad the ANWA conference was worth it to you. See you next month!

Nichole Giles said...

It was good to see you, too, Marsha. I'll see you in April at the next one!

Elana Johnson said...

Sounds like a blast! I'm glad you went and had a good time. There's nothing like hanging out with writers. :)

lotusgirl said...

I really need to start attending conferences. This sounds great.

Nichole Giles said...

It was a blast. Of course, hanging out with writers is always 'da bomb'! Can't wait to see you present in April, Elana.

Lotusgirl, you really should. Really. You'd love it.