Before kids, my husband and I each had a full range of hobbies to fill our time. (Amazing how those hobbies dwindle when parenting takes precedence!) Back in 2005, my husband went deep into the world of online Texas Hold’em and enjoyed throwing live poker parties (with real cards, real chips, and real stakes) at our house once a month. I guess it was a good thing that he was always good at it, or I would have lost my mind in addition to our money. Personally, I’ve never been one to understand a gamble. Why in the world would I put my hard-earned money on a bet, with no certainty that I’d make any profit? I’ve always preferred the solid return on investment that comes with hard work and dedication.
But sometimes, just sometimes, life’s about taking a gamble. So I paid my registration fee and I’ll be at the Philadelphia Writer’s Workshop this Saturday, learning from other writers and getting tips from agents and editors. This is a big deal for me for a few reasons.
1. I’m a major introvert. The very idea of going to a city I’m not all that familiar with is daunting in and of itself. (New York is the exception to this rule. I don’t care how loud my anxiety screams, I will always be ready for a trip to NYC. Because really – theater, art, culture. Need I say more?) Generally speaking, though, just having to navigate the public transportation system to get myself to a specific location in a major city sets my heart into irregular palpitating thuds. To top it off, I’ll be around people (a lot of people) all day long.
2. Big Changes. Attending a conference means that I’ve crossed over from treating writing like a hobby and a dream and started viewing it as an honest career. To be fair, this is the second conference I’ve planned to attend, but this one is much bigger than the last one! It’s a big change in mindset and one that’s necessary to being successful as a writer. After all, if I can’t treat myself seriously as a writer, how can I expect that anyone else will?
3. Forgoing Reward. Go ahead. You can read it again. “Forgoing reward.” As I write this, my dearest husband is on an all-expenses paid trip in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, a trip I should be enjoying with him. Instead, he took a fishing buddy. Why? Because part of being dedicated to writing is committing myself to the job. I booked the conference before we knew about the trip and I’ve committed. So he can go right on and enjoy the amazing Caribbean cooking at the all-you-can-eat open air buffet, sip his strawberry daiquiri made with rum too high quality for US import, and snorkel in the crystal waters to his heart’s content. I’ll be too busy tackling a dream to think about the Caribbean. (And maybe I’ll just stop at the liquor store for some daiquiri ingredients on my way home.)
4. Pitching A Manuscript. As icing on the cake—I’m pitching my book to agent Eric Smith of P.S. Literary Agency in person, someone I’ve been following on Twitter and admiring for months now. If I’m honest, it’s turned into borderline stalking. (Eric, I’m sorry! I love your tweets!) And part of the reason for my extreme nerves here is that Eric is not only a literary agent who’s constantly championing his authors. He’s also a YA fantasy author himself, so he knows the genre and he knows exactly what he likes to see in the genre. So, you know. No pressure.
So that’s it! I’ll be one big ball o’ nerves until it’s all over Saturday night, but it’ll be worth every minute! I’m pushing my chips to the center of the poker table and calling out, “All in!”