The big annual New Jersey SCBWI Conference is this coming weekend, and I'm nervous and excited. Nervous: two agents are going to be critiquing the first 15 pages of the book I'm trying to sell, and two others are going to listen to my 5-minute pitch, so what's not to be nervous about? Excited: 1. I'll get to spend the weekend with three of my dear critique group buddies. 2. I'll get to see some really nice people that I only see at conferences. 3. I'll get to run around completing all my volunteer assignments, including my Top Secret Assignment, all of which will give me great satisfaction. 4. I'll have the rare opportunity to spend two days pretending to be an extrovert, and even a bit of an insider. And unless, like me, you've spent your life feeling like an outsider, you have no idea how heady an experience that can be. Oh, I'll be attending a lot of workshops too, and they'll be interesting and informative, but I'm not excited about them. The only thing I can really focus on, with every nerve and sinew of my body, is getting a book published. And then another, and another. Unpub No More. Is that bad? Selfish? Greedy? I've had one career - who says I deserve a second one? And who says my books really merit publication, anyway? Yes, my mother's voice is alive and well inside my head, and it's still a struggle to push back and yell: I SAY I deserve a second career! I SAY my books are good enough to be published! THAT'S WHO!!! How ironic that my actual mother has turned into a docile, agreeable 89-year-old woman, while the one inside my head remains a fire-breathing dragon.
I'll show her. I am a mighty writer, I have justice on my side, and the dragon must be slain. Yeah! Bring on the Conference!