By Beckie Carlson
It's my birthday, or at least it is when I'm writing this. It may not be when I publish it. Oops...now you know my secret. I don't always publish things right away. Is your image of me blown? Sorry...
In honor of my birthday, or possibly by complete coincidence, I stole myself away for a relaxing weekend in Utah for a writer's conference. I know, it's the second conference this year and I still haven't finished my book. It's a work in progress, as is the rest of my life. These things take time. And when I say time, I don't mean a lot of time, I mean time. I mean, I don't have any time to write. What are you doing right now? You might ask. Yes, writing on my blog is writing, but it isn't the same as working on my book. You see, when I write for my blog, it is kind of a detox/vomit sort of thing. I just write whatever bubbles out the top of my overcooked brain. When I write in my book it is much more planned, calculated, formulated, and....yeah....its just different brain bubbles.
I am meeting lots of super creative people. Writers are surprisingly kind, sharing, and insightful when it comes to helping one another in their creative endeavors. I admit being a bit nervous when I started sharing my stories with other writers. I was not only afraid they would 'steal' my story, but afraid I might, inadvertently, 'steal' someone else's idea. (see Gentlemen Broncos) Either senario would be undesirable to at least on person.
I've been pleasantly surprised at how rewarding it has been to not only share my writing with others, but to hear what other writers have come up with. The creative ideas are limitless. Here are a few things I have learned as I have traveled along my writing journey.
* Writers are just people. Even when they are a big wig with several published books under their belt, they can still be just as insecure, nervous and in need of approval as the newest wanna-be writer.
* Writing does not take the place of reading. For a while, I was afraid to read while I was writing. I didn't want what I was reading to influence my own story. In truth, the more I read the better I write. Something about the creative juices flowing in my brain while I read pumps up my own creativeness and awesome things happen.
* Nobody can write your story. I heard it a lot at my last conference and I have made it a sort of motto for my writing. "Be true to your story." Someone may have input, ideas, or criticism about what you are writing but those belong to them. The only person that can write YOUR story is YOU. It's true.
* If you feel the need to write it, it is worth writing. Writing is sometimes only for us. I have written some wonderful things that no other eyes will ever see and that is okay. Sometimes, the journey of writing doesn't take you anywhere other than closer to home. Getting the words out can be a great form of therapy.
* Don't over think it. This one is directed a bit at a certain person in my boot camp group from tonight. I say it to her and I say it to me. If you feel a great need to write something down, don't let the idea that someone will be offended, hurt or embarrassed stop you from writing it down. There is a reason you are feeling the need to write it down. Be honest. Do the brain dump and then step back and figure out why you needed it done. You might surprise yourself.
I expect to learn a lot more this weekend. One thing I am sure will be greatly instilled in my brain until the next time I travel is this simple tip. Check the weather before you travel. I left Arizona in a nice steady sweat. I arrived in Utah only to be greeted by an arctic wind that has left certain tender parts of me in an icy state that most likely will remain until I step off the plane back in Phoenix. This uncomfortable feeling could have been avoided by a simple weather check. But then again, if I had done that I might not have had the urgent need to go shopping. I think I'll stick to my routine....cause I said so.