This weekend was the ACFW Conference--my first writer's conference as an attendee. (How weird that I've taught at one, but never attended one.) Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was only able to attend Thursday and Friday, and only for the workshops. But it was SO worth it. Thursday's session with Donald Maass of Writing the Breakout Novel fame was TREMENDOUS. If you are serious about your writing and ever have the opportunity to attend one of his sessions, DO IT. If that had been the only day I could attend, it would have been worth it. The other sessions I attended Friday were great, too, although in hindsight I should have signed up for the next track up on the ladder. I am really focused on improving my writing at a foundational level right now, but I underestimated how much I already know and found myself in a track that was a little too elementary for me. But I still learned some things, and now I know for sure next time what track to do.
Probably the most important thing I learned is that I need to swallow my pride, get over myself, and start seriously searching for a mentor. No more excuses. I can't expect to get any better just by reading books and attending one conference a decade. I need to be working one-on-one with someone who is a few steps ahead of me on the writing journey who can sharpen and challenge me. Seriously though? It SO scares me. I'm not good at taking criticism. I'm getting a lot better, but I really fear having someone tell me what I've written is crap. But if no one is speaking truth to you, how can you grow, right?
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