MARY CASTILLO: The Anti-Conference by Mary Castillo

July 16, 2006 by in category Blogs tagged as with 4 and 0
Home > Writing > Blogs > MARY CASTILLO: The Anti-Conference by Mary Castillo

Not going to conference this year? Me, too! Actually, this will be my second year of absence and I don’t feel guilty or left out at all.

But let me explain. Last year, I was eight months pregnant and of course, the weekend of conference my doctor informed me that I was dilating! (Also, everyone including my editor and agent promised to send me home if I so much as peeked into the Reno Hilton!)

This year I have a book to finish and well, it boiled down to the choice of spending our extra money to leave my boys behind for Atlanta; or go on our first family vacation. My boys and my book won hands down.

So I wanted to share some tips for those of you who aren’t going because you lost the battle of the budget, or you don’t feel ready.

1. Get together with some writer friends and talk about writing over coffee or cocktails. This might be the start of a critique group or even better, new friendships. The best things about conference are the people you meet and the ideas exchanged. Don’t get me wrong, the OCC suite, seminars and networking are priceless. But when I left the conferences in New York and Dallas, I went home invigorated and ready to write. You can only get that charge from fellow writers, so if you can’t be in Atlanta, round up some buddies!

2. Join a Book in a Week program. I can’t think of any better time to buckle down and make some progress on your WIP. Make yourself a promise that if you finish that WIP by fall, you’ll sign up for RWA National in 2007.

3. Write your writer’s business plan. If you plan to finish your WIP by next year’s conference, why not take some time out and dream? Your business plan doesn’t have to be super fancy or formal. It can be a place where you start thinking about how you want to be published. Or, you could make it fancy and formal with charts of your top ten agents, etc.

4. Clean your office, desk or PC files. I don’t know about you, but when I finish a draft, my office looks like a bomb went off and then the firefighters left a huge mess from their efforts to put out the fire. So I take a moment to clean up and when I’m done, I can take a nice big breath of relief. Also, I have this fear that the ghost of the previous draft will haunt me if I don’t clean.

5. Or, just take a break from writing. This worked for me last year … then again, pregnancy hormones and lack of sleep might have had some hand in it. Anyway when I came back to my writing (er, two and a half months later!), I was raring to go and oddly, getting back into the story seemed much easier.

Feel free to use any of these suggestions or ignore them. Either way, make the most of the week while the mice are playing. Sometimes us cats just need a break!

Mary Castillo
Author of IN BETWEEN MEN, Avon Trade
and HOT TAMARA, Cosmo’s Red Hot Read April 05
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  • Anonymous
    on July 21, 2006

    I’m with you, Mary. I’m staying home and playing catch up from a really busy pub month and promotion of SILENCE THE WHISPERS.

    There’s a lot to do in promotion and right now, I’m guest blogging at which is fun.

    It’s necessary to take a break periodically, especially after a deadline and decompress a bit. I don’t think RWA is the place to decompress, tho it’s great for networking. Not for me this year, tho. And I think a few more are enjoying families and staying home, too, but a lot are going.

    Tapes are a great way to get in on the goodies at RWA and I can’t wait to see what is offered.

    Have fun, everyone.

    Cait London

  • Anonymous
    on July 18, 2006

    Mary, I am right there with you sister! I am staying home and happily so. I have to finish as well, and a vacation after, so adding Atlanta to the mix was a “no way.” And actually, I love spending July not worrying about shopping and getting prepped and primped and all that stuff. So we’ll have to have a cyber party Sat night!

  • Anonymous
    on July 18, 2006

    I’m so sad you won’t be with us in Atlanta…For sure, next year in Dallas. We used to have Saturday Rita/GH party/potlucks for those of us who stayed home(like Cinderella) and someone who attended the conference would telephone us with the results. Way,way before everyone had a cell phone, in the dark ages. The one year the had the results on the internet, that was very cool, so the next year we were waiting around the computer in Sue’s office for the results and they didn’t post them, we had to track someone down to hear who had won. One step foward, two back. The “Sweet Suite Gang” will miss you and I’ll drink a sip or two of the bubbly(?) for you. Whatever you decide to do, just hang with you guys or make and set some writing goals, HAVE FUN!!! See you in August with all the conference dish.

  • Anonymous
    on July 17, 2006

    Maybe *you’re* not feeling guilty or left out, but *I’m* bummed you’re not going!

    It’s cool…I’ll be calling you so much it’ll be like you’re there anyway. 😉

    🙂 d

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