New York City, Nationals and the Creepy Crawlies

Bed Bugs!  My attention from Nationals was diverted by an abundance of urgent discussions on this topic amidst the WRW loop.  Shuddering, I firmly pushed aside thoughts of infestation and focused my attention on the conference and all the whispers that I had heard – “ overwhelming, awe-inspiring.. “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.. your life will never be the same again.”   Yeah, sure, I thought, assuming the adage applied to those earthlings who have not been able to reign their emotion to such perfection it should be introduced as an Olympic sport.    

On the first day of the conference, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was off.  Don’t get me wrong, there was NOTHING wrong with the conference.  Compared to the millions of others I attended for work purposes, this one rivaled anything I had ever seen; efficient and organized and with attention and preparedness for every detail. 

But as day one morphed into day two, I could no longer keep at bay the creepy crawly feeling seeping into my consciousness.  Past the protective layer of denial I chose to build around the anticipation and anxiety, it wove an ethereal web of fear and uncertainty that infested me worse than any bed bug on the planet. 

It wasn’t the hordes of faces, famous, infamous and yet-to-be-famous faces flitting from room to room.  The creepy crawlies, which I was so worried would be in my bed, were actually in my head.  And so they began to mess with me.  I wandered from workshop to workshop, trying to locate my “place” and not really finding it.   When people asked what I wrote, the only words I wanted to push out of my mouth were, “I’m not a writer.”  And so, like a flattened bed bug, I left.  On my trip home, I thought about the positives; I met up with great WRW friends (hello a few mermaids), attended two FABULOUS workshops and soaked up the greatness of being surrounded by so many writers.  But on the flip side, the conference left in its wake a nest of creepy crawlies that intensified my feelings of doubt and inadequacy. 

In bed that night, as I replayed the events of the days, I realized the conference didn’t “bring” out those feelings.  It just allowed me the opportunity to feel them, something I don’t like doing.   In the end, I’m glad I went, despite the creepy crawlies.  Because as we all know, running from the bugs is a great way to ensure they’ll catch you.  Facing them head on is the only way to go.  So as I nurse the ouchie left on my pocketbook by a pricey stay in NYC, I’m cautiously motivated to utilize those gems of wisdom I learned in those workshops to create a better product.  And hopefully, it isn’t infested with bugs.   Anyone else?

11 thoughts on “New York City, Nationals and the Creepy Crawlies

  1. Good morning Masha,
    It was so good to see you there. I am one of those who believe that everything happens for a reason. So in my mind, you were at the conference for the exact amount of minutes and hours you were supposed to be, and you acquired the very thing you needed from it!

  2. Loved seeing you in NYC, Masha-Mermaid! And really loved our walk around the streets of NYC.

    First of all, I HATED when they started talking about bed bugs on the loop. Gross! It seems every time I’m about to go to a hotel, someone (our email loop, Matt Lauer, The Washington Post) just HAS to bring up freaking bed bugs. Which I would otherwise not think about.

    But I hear you on the self-doubt. Nationals was overwhelming! But I figure I’m better armed for next year. And while at first I didn’t think I was very motivated, I’ve actually been writing all week long! 😉

    1. Kerri mermaid.. it was terrific to see you.. and even better to catch up. And you’re right, it’s better to be armed for next year.. or at least, I’ll know what to consider when determining whether to go again..

  3. Masha, Sometimes the creepy-crawlies are what we need to get to the next right step in our journey. The feeling may not be pleasant (or healthy), but I have found that anxiety has sometimes pushed me toward producing better work. Congratulations for confronting the creepy-crawlies head-on. I wish you the best of luck in moving past them. And Masha? You are a writer. I know that, and the rest of the mermaids know that. Please turn to us if you ever need a second opinion!

    1. Thanks!!.. you know, I will take you up on that offer. I’d love more feedback, so I may come scratching at your door for a beta read, if you have time. I know your little guys take a lot of time too!

  4. Masha,
    I’m so sorry you felt the way you did. That was me the first year. Overwhelmed. Weaving my way from one place to the next with little thought as to how or why I was going to a certain workshop. But, I agree with Carlene. You attended the exact amount of hours or minutes you were supposed to. I went to one workshop that gave me my best advice: Don’t do a backstory dump. (Which is what I did, sorry to say and embarrassed to admit). And then I went to a workshop on the Young Adult market, and I started writing my first YA the next month. I finished it in two months, and I submitted it in the Golden Heart. And, even though I didn’t win, I did final, and that’s what allowed me to meet so many wonderful people. That GH loop and the other YA finalists banded together, and now I don’t feel that sense of being alone. Having friends from your loops is a wonderful way to get affirmation when you need it. Like Pintip said, call us for a second opinion. We’ll give you a better one than you have of yourself. 🙂

    1. Hi!..

      Thanks so much for what you wrote. It’s always nice to know I’m not the only one who feels the same way. It was interesting what you said about the workshops. Even if you get one nugget of information, I think it’s worth it. I went to Michael Hague’s seminar and it was fantastic.. totally worth the trip. And like I sold Pintip.. I will take you up on your offer for a second opinion.

  5. I’m there with you Masha.
    I was torn over whether to try and go to Nationals this year (next year on west coast). Though I’ve been in RWA for almost four years now I’ve had chances to go to other Nationals but didn’t for various reasons. One, I’d never been to a writing conference or retreat and didn’t know what to expect.

    This years WRW retreat was my first (yes a virgin all the way around). I know it wasn’t nearly as crazy as Nationals but I loved every minute of it! The people I talked to (those I’d only met on loop) and my friend Gail who helped me through my first time (thank you) really made a difference. I knew someone there.
    I had a taste of what pitch interviews were about in a more ‘relaxed’ atmosphere, met some of my favorite authors–and realized many of my favorites had their favorites there too! LOL

    I think working at a chapter level and finding your comfort zone and then working up to a bigger venue is important–not so overwhelming. Plus, you meet more people as you go to the chapter events/retreats and when Nationals come around, I think it will make it even easier for me when it is time to actually take the plunge.

    I made the mistake with jumping into submitting to GH as my ‘first’ contest without knowing what I was doing a few years ago–but hey, one never knows–and of course I did not final. Some people are comfortable at big events where others may feel they get the same results by enjoying smaller, more intimate retreats. (Easier on the pocketbook too.) I was ever greatful to be able to go to WRW retreat this year and look forward to next year again–just to experience and meet others in my trade.

    1. Hi Loni,

      I’m right there with you… I LOVED WRW. It wasn’t overwhelming, but neither was it too sparse. It had a really great feel to it. Again, that’s not to disparage Nationals. It’s a huge undertaking, but I think for what I was seeking, I liked the warmth and coziness of WRW.

      Your mention of GH was interesting. I too find that as I navigate this journey, I learn new things and when I look back at my writing, I want to slap my forehead. But I won’t.. because if I wasn’t there, I’d have no road to trudge.

  6. Masha – use this experience help you grow as a writer. Take those feelings, all that doubt and put it in a character. Put it in the page. You had a real-time workshop on discovering stuff about yourself and now you can use it in a book.

    And – lean on us. Mermaids together. All the way.

Comments are closed.