Thursday, September 01, 2005

Am I Wrong To Be Disappointed?

Okay, I'm not a fallout victim from Katrina--people whom my heart really goes out to--so I really shouldn't be complaining about anything. I have my hands, my eyes, my feet and my body, irrational though it may be. Some would even argue I have my mind. For those things, I really am grateful.

But what I also have is a growing sense of dissatisfaction.

Something is wrong and I can't quite put my finger on it. Work is good. No one is rampaging for my blood and I'm miraculously meeting the majority of my deadlines. Blogging is going well. I'll gotten my new blogging dates, you'll be able to find me discussing writing life on Romancing The Blog on Sept 22nd and on the 10th & 23rd, I'll be prattling on in the Belfry Collective. These are very good things.

And yet, like that kitchen grease that deposits on your fridge and floors and walls, something is staining me.

I don't know when it started, but I really noticed it at Nationals. I was...less than thrilled about the conference. Oh, don't get me wrong. Seeing my CPs and best friends for the five days a year we get to be around each other always makes my summer. Seeing author buddies and talking face to face with an editor is always great. But there was no...excitement about the event. I looked at the session list and had to stretch for classes I really wanted to take.

I'm not about to badmouth RWA, they don't need it and really, I think it goes without saying that I couldn't mention anything new about them. But...couldn't they make some of the sessions a little more...I don't know, challenging? I mean, I know that for some, this is their first year to Nationals and there needs to be beginner classes...but it's not everyone's first year.

Why is it that the session topics seemed lackluster?

Is it me?

Do we fear getting specific? Primarily, we found a lot of generic lessons. The sessions that were specific were sessions I could have attended--or listened to the CDs of--last year. Or the year before. Where is the nitty gritty? Where's the meat that invigorates the writing soul? Where is the inspiration?

I know it's been months, but all summer, the feeling has grown. Where is the burning desire to write? Why is everyone talking writing politics instead of writing skills? Is it that I don't time to write...or that the writing climate has frozen up?

The longer the months go on, the less I see of people talking about what they love in writing. It's what they don't like, wish they didn't have to see. Was RWA boring as hell when it came to the Awards Ceremony? Of course it was. There's no arguing that, though just about everyone has tried to look for enough to scrape together and fight about. But my concern is how boring it was for a writer looking to fill the well...and possibly finding it dry. Will RWA be correcting this next year too?

What is the answer? Perhaps having each session with a rating system from beginner to advanced? Should we develop a system of what we consider writing basics and layer from there? I could be just asking for more buracracy (sp?), but deep down, I'm just looking for some more meat. Something not just to cut my teeth on but to sink them into.

Challenge me. Don't tell me how to make writing easy. Talk to me about why it's hard--and why that's not a bad thing.

Or, as I said, is it just me?



Diana Peterfreund said...

I don't think it's you, Dee, because I felt the same way, and I've heard similar from many other experienced unpublished, just-published, very-published.

Frankly, with all the wonderful resources available now for the aspiring writer, the online workshops, the online critique groups, the Q&As, the chats, the essays, the magazines, the retreats, the local chapter workshops, the etc. etc. etc., the actual workshops at conferences don't quite have the same punch as they used to. There's very new to learn that hasn't been covered already for the savvy writer who soaks up all these other resources like a sponge.

In addition, you've advanced enough in the industry that you know what you are supposed to be doing. Heck, you're writing articles about it yourself. More on that isn't going to help. Unfortunately, past a certain point in the craft, there is nothing anyone else can really teach you. It's a matter of practice makes perfect. I've seen a lot of workshops about "how to deal" with "almost there," but none on how to overcome it, because the only answer to that is a mix of right manuscript, right place, right time.

Dee said...

That's a really good point, Diana. So then I guess the question becomes...Is RWA in competition with the entire internet?? Besides seeing each other, what does Nationals offer us?

LOL, if people are reading this, I've even opened myself to some serious 3rd degree burns or a very interesting topic. LOL!


Lyn Cash said...

diana made some excellent points. i attended 1 seminar in dallas and walked out after 20 minutes. i didn't attend anything but the PRO workshop in reno, and i even skipped part of that. my time is valuable, and i wanted to get my $$ worth, so i spent both years primarily networking, which never disappoints me.

and, dee, if you're gonna burn, then so will i for what i'm about to say. the majority of the membership isn't published and never will be - there are too many who are wannabees not willing to sacrifice, to put in their dues, to rely on themselves wanting to be spoon-fed rather than to increase their productivity and learn how to write better through just planting meat to seat and doing what needs to be done.

the seminars are too geared for those who want to be told how to do something and not geared enough for those who already know what to do but need support in continuing their journey. just my 2 cents.

but no - you are not alone. i'm one of those who refuses to not get anything out of it, so when i'm not getting what i need/want, i get what i can and build upon that.

i can buy the tapes if i want to learn HOW - i can attend online classes, join organizations, read, and take notes elsewhere. when i'm at national, what i WANT is more WHY...why this works and that doesn't, why this is what's selling and the other isn't. more in-depth seminars and less fluff.

as diana said in her 1st paragraph basically...just because someone is unpublished doesn't mean that they're inexperienced. so...let's have more for the experienced, whether they're published or not. and if the experienced NON-pub feels a lack of what feeds them, imagine how the experienced PUB feels.

okay, so that was a quarter's worth, not just 2 cents.

Dee said...

Lyn, you're making me think this is a topic for blogging I need to continue. :) Thanks for the quarter, it's got me thinking!


THIS! Christine said...

Right there with you, Dee.