Will I Be Renewed or Discouraged?

105182105411111CDPAs I write this I am anticipating what this trip will bring. Gayle Irwin and I are in a motel, just 41 miles from our destination of YMCA of the Rockies near Estes Park, Colorado. We are attending a three day writing conference.

I have attended about five times before, but not for about six years now. It is by far the most economical yet information packed conference I have found. There are seven workshops going on at the same time twice each day and eight continuing sessions that meet each day. There are also four clinics that accept only 8-10 people that run the length of the conference.

Topics range from Indie Publishing, (not covered or encouraged 10 years ago), to memoirs, fiction writing, non-fiction, children’s writing etc. There are 15 minute free critique’s to sign up for and paid 30 minute ones. And you can mingle with teachers and fellow writers/hopefuls at meals in the cafeteria.DSCN0886

Opportunities to get to know authors and editors there happen at meals and at the worship times in the morning and evenings. Also, a hayride is planned for the last evening, weather permitting. (It doesn’t always permit at this time of year in the Rockies.) I met Lauraine Snelling on that hayride at one of my first conferences there. She was just beginning her career I believe and now is a bestselling author and quite revered in my home state of North Dakota where she did a series of stories on the Norwegian Immigrants to the Red River Valley.write it

While there is excitement and learning, how-to books available as well as books written for enjoyment, there are also the critiques! I must prepare to hear the changes they think my manuscripts need, that I didn’t “show” enough, that I didn’t develop my characters enough, that I need a ton more work! Hopefully, there will be positive comments saying I did some part right, I developed that part well, this is a story the person would want to read.

So, perhaps, if it doesn’t snow on us too hard, I will drive home Saturday evening with renewed vigor to finish my stories, begin new ones, and picture my success, signing my books right there alongside Nicholas Sparks, Johanna Lindsey and the rest!

And with that last sentence, perhaps my career in comedy has just begun! Or, God willing, it’s a prediction!

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18 Responses to Will I Be Renewed or Discouraged?

  1. Joe Stephens says:

    That sounds like a lot of fun. Not sure how I would deal with the critique session. I both crave and fear criticism! Sometimes I think I would like someone to just tell me what I need to do to fix my writing, but down deep I fear they’ll tell me what to do and I’ll realize I just can’t do it. I’m not smart enough. I’m not a good enough writer. And then I think I don’t need those stinking critiques! I am supremely confident one minute and fully convinced of my incompetence the next. So I don’t know how I would react to sitting down with someone to critique my work. I may run screaming into the night.

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    • Neva Bodin says:

      Joe, you have encapsulated the responses of most of the writers at the conference I believe. I have learned over 15 years of being a hopeful author, having a coupe short stories, poems, and newspaper articles published to be a better listener, and curb the gut sinking angst a bit when critiqued. But, having arrived home from the conference now, I know plenty who wanted to run screaimg into the night, and saw some tears and anger after the critiques. And your twin feelings of confidence/incompentence are certainly shared by me! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  2. What a wonderful opportunity Neva. I’ve never been to a writing retreat (although I hope to go someday) but I’m very familiar with the critique part. Our writing group in Mexico made every meeting a critique of the writers who were signed up to read each week. I learned so much from that time together that I definitely became a better writer. Enjoy the event. You’ll probably be one of the famous ones soon and people will be clamoring to meet you!

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    • Neva Bodin says:

      Boy do I appreciate your encouraging comments! I do feel more hopeful after this conference than before, perhaps now is the time. And I am able to appreciate critiques more after 15+ years of practice! Or maybe it’s my advanced maturity. Ha.
      Conferences are important, and this one offers a lot and was great. If you miss a class you can order a CD at this one also.

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  3. Doris says:

    I know you will have a wonderful, educational time. I’ve had friends who went there and even did workshops. Drive safe and have a great time. Doris

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    • Neva Bodin says:

      Thanks Doris. Would have loved to have met you there too! Gayle has had that privilege (to meet you) I know. It was a great time with great workshops and helpful critiques for me. I hope I can make the changes suggested and have finished manuscripts to present to some I talked to who suggested I send a proposal when done.

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  4. Neva, I went to that YMCA camp in Estis Park almost twenty years ago. As a music therapy student, I attended a conference there, and I remember the facilities weren’t bad except for the fact that everyone used a communal shower, but being in college, I was used to that. I also remember swimming in the pool and soaking in the hot tub on an afternoon when there were no workshops. Hope this conference is fruitful, and the weather is favorable.

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    • Neva Bodin says:

      Bet you would find a lot of changes from twenty years ago, Abbie. We stayed in a new motel this year, right behind the auditorium and that was a boone. I sat down by the fireplace in the lobby one eveing, checking email, watching the fire and just enjoying the atmosphere. While I’ve stayed in rooms with twin or bunk beds before in the older motels, this one was very nice and like any modern motel.
      And the conference was information packed as usual with lots of how-to books to buy.

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    • Neva Bodin says:

      I just typed a whole reply to you and when I hit post, everything happened as usual only the reply wasn’t there! Will try again. I bet if you attended the conference now you would find lots of changes. We stayed in a new motel this year right behind the auditorium so not so far to walk in that high altitude which I appreciated. Also, the building had an elevator. I spent one evening sitting in the lobby by a fireplace going through email. They had a coffee machine and microwave there too. This motel had two double beds and was roomy and like any modern motel. Some of the older ones have bunk beds etc and I have stayed in them before.

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  5. Mike Staton says:

    Sounds like fun. Lots of learning and a hayride! Great story about meeting a future best-seller on an earlier hayride. The one my writers club sponsors in Vegas… I haven’t even considered going. Too expensive for this retired due with a limited income.

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    • Neva Bodin says:

      Conferences are expensive which is why I don’t attend every year. This one does offer scholarships which I have taken advantage of in the past. But, after paying the bills for a nursing home for a family member, I have a new slogan: Spend the nursing home money now! I will enjoy it much more now than when I’m sitting in the nursing home. This conference is information packed and offers CD’s of each workshop if you miss one. I even enjoyed my critiques this year, a first I think. But I saw anger and tears on other’s faces.

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  6. I love the setting of this conference, being surrounded by mountains and seeing wildlife, such as elk, geese, songbirds, and deer. It is truly intense, but I learn so much! I love sharing the experience with a friend — this is my fifth time at this conference, and three times I’ve traveled with a fellow Wyoming writer. Thank you, dear Neva, for driving us down, for your encouragement, for the laughter and seriousness shared, and for being such a great friend … AND a GREAT WRITER! Congrats on all the good that happened to you!!! Now I know what you’ll be bringing Wednesday night to writer’s group! 🙂

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    • Neva Bodin says:

      Thanks Gayle for suggesting we go to this conference this year. I feel it was my most hopeful conference for getting published that I have attended. And the setting was truly beautiful. The snow and rain held off until I was out of that big long canyon and the ride home uneventful too, so it was a great experience.

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  7. erinfarwell says:

    Neva, I am right there with you. Sometimes conferences can be inspiring and other times intimidating. Trust you’ll learn what you need to continue on your path. Also, my grandparents lived in Estes Park, CO for many, many years and its one of my favorite places in the Rockies. I’m sure you’ve been there before but say “hi” to the mountains for me. 🙂

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  8. Wranglers says:

    I love local conferences. So much cheaper than the big ones, but like you said, still packed full of instruction and inspiration. I will be attending our local one in June. I’m very excited. I’m just going for one day this year, because I have so much to do. New great-grandbaby and moving to FL, to name a couple of things. Glad you and Gayle got together, very exciting. Cher’ley

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  9. sstamm625 says:

    I hope the conference was everything you both hoped for, Neva (and Gayle)!

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  10. S. J. Brown says:

    Hope you enjoyed the conference and came home ready to write.

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  11. Nancy Jardine says:

    Neva- Attending a conference sounds envigorating but also pretty hard work. The schedule of events sounds action packed but I’m sure you found it very worthwhile. I hope the snow, if you got much, just addd to the ‘away from home’ atmosphere.

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