Thursday, May 14, 2009

Conference Heart to Heart

I'm going to continue my series on how to write a first draft next week. This week I'm going to give you my conference "heart to heart" for having a good time at a children's writing conference.

I'm an introvert. Large crowds of people generally make me want to run into the hills. I've left conferences crying, so shell shocked that I'm generally sure I'm never going to write again for a week. Folks, here is a secret. You are not supposed to be popping Tums and Tylenol. Conferences are supposed to be fun.

After you get you nose out of that bag because you've hyperventilated from the thought of going to another conference, it's time to get to work. My first advice -- breathe. Take several slow deep breaths. Empty your mind. One more breath. The best news, everyone who goes to a children's conference is totally human. They love children's books like you do. You are Br'er Rabbit and have just been tossed into the briar patch. Yay! Go with this mind. YOU ARE WITH PEEPS.

Now, it's time to make some goals before we go to that conference. I use a strategy that fits my defensive pessimism style. I think every optimist out there might learn a thing or two from me.

I'm a worrier, and defensive pessimism is my protective mechanism to keep me from freaking out and also put me on the path of productivity. Defensive pessimists set the bar really low. I go through all my worst case scenarios: "I forget to go to my agent appointment", "I say something absolutely unforgettable and stupid to an editor", or maybe "I burst into tears after I make my agent appointment and head home, blowing all the conference cash for the year". Though this may seem depressing to you, this behavior actually helps worrywart me get my focus away from my bubbling emotions, so I can make an effective plan.

Once I've shaken out my heebee jeebees of the possibility of all hell breaking loose, I move on to my three tier goals of happiness. My first tier of goals are totally doable, really low bar. Stuff like, I will show up. I will go to sessions. I will talk to my friends. (Uh, this one is very specific, I will discuss J. J. Abrams' STAR TREK, hahahaha!) I will take notes. I will not eat too many cookies. I will meet one new person. I will hand out 25 business cards, etc.

Next, come my second tier goals: I will talk to an editor, I will have fun at my agent appointment, I will get the card of all the agents and the editors at the conference, I will make contacts for school visits, I will learn something new. All doable but tougher than first tier goals.

Last, come my third tier goals: I will connect on a personal level with an editor, I will have a requested full manuscript by the end of the conference, let me throw in the Holy Grail, I will have a publishing contract, or, better, an agent with auction in the next month because of this very conference. Whew! I've got lots of stuff to do. I've got a good feeling about this conference. Yay! I'm sure I will have a good time.

Doodles of the week are temporarily back. This is my doodle -- Blueberries on Fire.

Hey, here is Kay Starr with Side by Side. I had this on a 45 when I was kid, and I must have listened to it 1000 times on my Fisher Price Phonograph.

Quote for the week:

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute. G.B. Stern


Vijaya said...

I'm laughing so hard right now ... perhaps it's the late hour but something about defensive pessimism just cracks up this perennial optimist ...

I'll see you at the conference ... perhaps I'll nab you for a bit of news that's made me all giddy.

MollyMom103 said...

You better nab me!!!!!

Kjersten said...

Fun blog post, Molly! See you at the conference.

Trudi Trueit said...

From one worrier to another, have fun!

holly cupala said...

Molly, are you talking to me?? Ha ha. Well, at least I know you'll talk with me about Star Trek (yay!). ;)

MollyMom103 said...

I now know that Vijaya's news! Yay for those precious moments of praise!

Check her blog...

Holly, what we didn't chat about STAR TREK.....This must find a day to be turned around.

jesse joshua watson said...

You are so funny. I totally want to run screaming from big groups of people. :)