Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Countdown

It's ten days away for most of those involved, but it's essentially nine days away for me.



I'm referring to the 5th Annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference coming up next week, which Heather Moore and I are co-chairing.

Can I just say that I am eternally grateful that
a) I'm not in this alone and
b) that my partner is so capable and
c) that her strengths lie in all my weak areas?

As some readers may remember, we were "crowned" at last year's conference, so this conference has been twelve months in the making. The last couple have been the most intense, of course, and now it's almost here.

We're dotting i's and crossing t's right now, trying to make sure that there are no lingering ends left untied. (It's amazing just how many ends there are to check . . .)

Between now and then, I have a lot to do, for both the conference as well as for my personal life. For starters, I have to get everything ready for Easter before I drive off to the hotel, because by the time I get back, there will be NO time whatsoever for any of that.

The family is heading up to visit grandma while I'm gone, so I should probably help get little people semi-packed before I leave.

Several of the kids have activities that Mom needs to help prepare for, coordinate, or drive to.

And then there are the ponchos I'm trying to finish knitting for my girls so they can all match on Easter Sunday. (Key word: trying.)

In the middle of all this madness, I did something really stupid: I asked my editor about the status of my latest submission.

If you know anything about the writer's ego, you'll know what a really dumb move that was for a writer who is already under stress. The only possible good outcome would have been a response like, "It's Pulitzer-worthy! We loved it!" Then I'd smile and go my merry way, with a little boost to keep going through the next nine days.

I'm sure you can already see where this is going.

Instead of a declaration that I'm the next big thing, we're discussing revisions and notes.

Really, that's no huge surprise. With Spires of Stone I did two rewrites, went over oodles of notes with my editor (and granted, wanted to bang my head against the monitor numerous times), but ultimately came out the other end not only alive but with a much better book that was accepted for publication and is now up for a Whitney Award.

So why am I such a basket case? That would be because writers seesaw between egomania and self-despair all the time, and are capable of flipping between the two in a matter of seconds. My past publishing experiences with five previous novels notwithstanding, I still feel like the rookie just waiting for that next rejection letter telling me my baby is ugly and that I stink.

I should take a nice, hot bath tonight to help me calm down a bit. That is, if I could sit still long enough without checking e-mail for conference stuff, or going over my workshop presentation notes, or working on the table centerpieces, or sending the latest updates about the waiting list and lunch choices to committee members, or . . .

You get the idea.

Basically, I look like Chicken Little on serious doses of caffeine.

To cope, I bought two of the silver bags of Guittard milk chocolate chips. You know, the jumbo ones? Yeah. That should last me, oh, a day or so.

For those readers who are coming to the conference, I can't wait to see you. Once the big day is here, it'll be downright awesome, and I'm sure I'll be having a ball. I've been in touch with a lot of you, and I can't wait to put faces to names.

In all seriousness, the conference has been a huge shot in the arm for me every time. Last year I drove home a bit wistfully, knowing I wouldn't be able to experience it again for another year. Sure, there would be other conferences, but none are the same as this one. If you've come, you know what I mean.

See you in ten days.


Tamra Norton said...

Oh, Annette, I can't wait to see you! I feel like I know you so much better this time 'round than ever before and I can't wait to have a chance to chat face to face (that is, if you aren't running around crazy due to your queenly responsabilities!) :)

I'm doing a countdown too. I fly from Houston to SLC on the 18th where not only do I have conference responsabilities (y'all come to my Mid-grade/YA class, okay?) but I have 5 school visits and I'm speaking to a YW group. I always look forward to these Utah trips, but by the time I get home I'm nearly in a coma.

Anyhoo--can't wait to see you, girly! :)

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I don't know whether to use this comment to praise you, offer sympathy, or growl with envy because my hubby couldn't get the time off so I could go.

Let's make it a mix, shall we?

Anonymous said...

Good luck with everything! I'm sure all will go well!

Marcia Mickelson said...

I can't wait. I'm so excited to go. Thanks for all the hard work you (and everyone else)are putting into it.

Michele Holmes said...

Hang in there Annette! You and Heather are my heroes :) And don't fret about your Manti book. All will be well there (eventually) too. Though we both know rewrite is a four letter word.

Karlene said...

My daughter and I are coming and we are both so excited. In fact, my daughter wanted to do a creative writing internship (she's a sr in high school) and she had to write up a proposal to be approved. This conference is the kick-off to that internship. Her counselor loved the idea.

Heather Moore said...

NINE days, as in 9? I'm really excited to see everyone--it will be like a reunion with all of you great writers!

Josi said...

You and heather have been down right amazing with all of this, you're so on the ball and organized. I can't wait for the big day(s) either, it will be tons of fun. Best of luck in all those last little details. Is it PC to say I'm SO glad it's not me this time? Though I hope to have the chance to do it again someday, it's quite the high when you realize you've pulled it off.

Unknown said...

It will all turn out just fine and dandy, Annette--the conference, the book, and Easter. You and Heather are doing a superb organizing job, and if anything gets left undone, or isn't perfect, relax and remember there really IS opposition in ALL things.

We all love you both and are so grateful for everything you're doing to bring this event together.

Unknown said...

hi annette,
hope you and everyone have an awesome rocking meaningful experience. i wish i was going :(

blessings and fun,
kathleen xo


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