Friday, November 2, 2012

New Year, New Decisions

Yeah, for those of us who follow a slightly different spiritual calendar, November is our January. We start the new year in the midst of reflection and recollection, building energy as fall ends and slips into winter.

And I’m thinking of some pretty big changes over the next twelve months. For five years I’ve been going to Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and most of the RWA Nationals. I’ve promoted and been a presence and I’m not giving up on these cons. But I think I need a break.

RT used to be an affordable alternative to Nationals, but anymore, it runs about the same, cost wise.  Each cost about $2000. Last year I went to RomCon in Denver and had a good time, but am still looking for someplace I can go that is closer. I get really tired of flying!

So…2013. Husband and I really want to do a New England fall car tour, together. Yes, we’ve cruised in the last five years, but no real on-our-own vacation. I’ve spent the last five years going to conventions.

What does this mean? No RT. No RWA. There’s a new con starting in Las Vegas, in August, that is so affordable and being run by romance cover model Jimmy Thomas. (How affordable? $690, all inclusive – meals, hotels, all con events.) I can drive to Vegas. In less than a day. A long day, but I can do it.

I’m already signed up for a second Vegas con, Hot Mojave Knights, in October.

And with the money I save I can actually attend the San Francisco Writer’s Conference in February and hire a writing coach, put some money into self-publishing and working on the actual writing and not just the promotional aspect of my career.

The idea of not seeing my RT friends or my RWA friends is hard, but in 2014 RT is in New Orleans. RWA is in San Antonio. I can look forward to those with a renewal of energy and a new focus.

I know it’s odd to hear me backing away from conventions. I’m a big fan of them and prefer attending as many as I can. But it’s the money and energy that is waning. If I stick local for a year, I can avoid the airfare and save the money and energy. I have a friend who lives within bussing distance of the big San Francisco one and has offered me lodging.

Last year, I missed the Pirate Festival, just fell days before I had to leave for Denver and RomCon. I missed it!  And it’s a free festival! Yeah, 2012 taught me a few things about how thin I was stretched.

Sometimes, evaluation is just due. A bit of a withdrawal and reflection, some new training and refocusing.

I’m still hoping you pirates all final in the Golden Heart, and if that happens, I’ll do my hardest to get to Atlanta…

We’ve all had those moments. Where you just have to reflect and reconsider. I imagine mothers find themselves in that place a fair amount of time. There is only so much a person can do.

Have you ever had to make the hard choice? Take a step back and think about what you want, how you’re getting there and evaluate just how much time, money and energy you have to give? Did you make the right decision? How do you feel about it?


Maureen said...

Okay, RT is in New Orleans in 2014 and RWA is in San Antonio in 2014...not 2015. I'd go in and fix it but I haven't figured out how to do that!

TerriOsburn said...

I fixed the year thing. I had a hard time deciding to back out of RWA New York last year. Killed me not to go, mostly because I've still never been to NYC and staying in Times Square sounded like a dream. But I just didn't have the resources.

I'd love to do more conferences. NJ & GA in addition to Nationals, but again it's a resource issue. But the energy thing is an issue too. Takes me at least a week, sometimes more to recover from Nationals energy-wise. No idea how authors/editors/agents do so many conferences a year.

MsHellion said...

I think the hard choice I ever had to make was cut friends from my life or at least cut back the time spent with certain friends--and introduce new friends who weren't as toxic. It was an energy, mental resources thing.

In my case, I think I might have to do a harder choice to invest more in conferences than choosing not to. I'm not as willing to let my money be spread as thin--and I prefer to save money for "future disasters" rather than vacation/travel/conferences. In my case, I know I prefer to buy books than save that money to go to conferences (when I could get the books from the library). Anyway, if I really sacrificed, I'm sure I could still make enough money saved to go to one conference a year AND still have my "disaster fund". I just don't want to. In my head, I think of conferences for people who are published or close to publishing. If I want to commune with people like me, I can find them online or perhaps close to home--or if I want to learn how to write better, there are things closer to home to do. I find conferences rather draining...and any inspirational high I got from them, wanes after I finally get rested and back here and in my old routine.

Maureen said...

Yeah, Ter, I asked Angela James how she did it and she just shrugged. You do what you have to do. She figured she does 3 months out of the year at conferences. Has a ton of frequent flyer miles but never goes anywhere, except to conferences!

I hated pulling out of NYC, too. But I figure when they go back I'll be in better shape for it. And you'll be published! So even better.

You did well at the little local one you attended this year, so there is hope I can find substance at my locals!

As a single working mother, I'm sure you make the tough decisions all the time. This was one of my first and it about broke my heart.

Maureen said...

Hels, conferences are draining. And exhilerating! It's a balance, that is for certain.

But don't miss out on something great because you have to be ready for that rainy day, what if that rainy day never happens?

I'd have to pull out a map, but it seems to me a closer than average one for you would be Spring Fling, in Chicago...

Maureen said...

And Ter? Thanks for fixing the date. I tried to fix something a few months ago and it just posted an brand new blog so I figured I shouldn't mess with it.

And the way today is going, I may get to the movies again...

MsHellion said...

Mo, I live in MO. There's always a good chance for rain here. I realize with you living on the West coast you might not understand this. *LOL* There is always ALWAYS a chance for a legitimate disaster here.

Spring Fling was cool. I enjoyed the last one I went to. Always love a chance to stalk Leslie Langtry. :)

Maureen said...

Uh...earthquakes, wildfires and mudslides. And now we've been dealing with tsunamis. El Nino... Yup, California ain't safe from those disasters!

As I've said, I'm geographically challenged, but if Chicago isn't too far...try another Spring Fling!

I'm staying on my side of the Rockies in 2013!

We did have rain yesterday...for a little while...

TerriOsburn said...

I couldn't figure out when natural disasters came into the conversation and then realized y'all are taking the term "rainy day" literally. I get it now.

Maureen said...

Both literally and figuratively!

Marnee Bailey said...

I haven't been able to go to RWA or RT yet. I have done the NJ conference twice, but it's a drive and not that expensive.

I have had a big choice, monetarily. When I decided to stay home, it meant giving up a LOT of things that we used to do when we had two incomes. As in, if I were working, I'd probably be going to these big conferences. Not to say that I won't get there--maybe even next year!--but as of now, I have to always weigh it against what's financially the best thing for the fam. And so far, flights to conferences just haven't been as important as clothing and food and those sorts of boring things. :)

Maureen said...

I never find food boring. Well, maybe noodles without sauce.

TerriOsburn said...

With the prevalence of credit cards these days, it's easy to say "I'll buy that now and pay for it later." Never a smart move. Unfortunately I'm in this boat at the moment for things like food at times, but I want to get back to the days when I didn't have credit cards and only bought what I had the money to pay for.

Maureen said...

Hope that changes soon, Terri!

quantum said...

I used to consider travel as one of the perks of a research scientist's career. Conferences were usually held in exotic and interesting locals, in order to attract a large international attendance.

Fortunately employers are usually keen to encourage young scientists to go to confs and keep up with the latest thinking. I imagine that Writers would also benefit from these events, primarily when starting out. The older successful authors probably treat it all as a chance to chat with their buddies and give invited talks.

Its such a pity that starting writers are often strapped for cash! I guess that's a problem with being self-employed.

Aren't there bursaries and things that could help?

Maureen said...

Yeah, there is some help from my local RWA group, but there is still the airfare and hotel, food, etc... I hope to get some help with the San Francisco Writer's conference.

It would make more sense to help out the fledglings. But from what I understand with publishers is that they'll encourage authors to go, but not help.

Nope, never help!