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LTUE & My Life, My Universe and Everything

February 17, 2012
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Isn’t it strange how tired learning can make you? I suspect this is why all high school students are tired all the time. College students too. They are learning so much. And when you’ve finished college, you forget how hard it is, how tiring it is to learn something new because you are at such a repetitive, mind-numbing job that you want to scream.

And then you go to a writing conference.

This is my pathetic excuse for not writing about the conference sooner. I have simply been too tired digesting what I learned and, well, writing. Which is a good thing for my novel but not for my friends and family that want to keep up with my writing escapades via my blog.

LTUE was a success. I drove down with some friends and we got chatting and missed the exit and ended up in Payson. For those not wanting to pull up a map, that is about five or six cities past where we wanted to end up. So I missed the first panel on Friday. Bonding with friends is more important anyway.

I won’t go into detail talking about all the panels. This is for one simple reason. I didn’t learn anything. Apart from the Keynote speaker (who was brilliant) and a few scattered bits here and there, I learned nothing. In a few notable cases, I knew more than the speaker let on. I wondered why they didn’t mention such and such resource or why they didn’t go further into such and such theory. Why are they talking to a room full of wanna-be writers, most of whom have never even finished a first draft, about line edits? Even I am not ready for line edits (yet)!

Needless to say, I was very frustrated. Yes, being around writers is inspiring but I wanted to learn something. I had always learned something in the past. Why wasn’t I learning anything this year? Was the conference just not what it used to be? Had something changed since I last went in 2010?

Later that night, while at dinner with old friends and new, I realized what it was. The reason I wasn’t learning anything was because I knew it all. Instead of learning, I needed to be doing. I needed to apply the knowledge I already had instead of seeking more. But doing is hard and I was scared.

This was especially apparent at the panel titled “So You’ve Finished Your Novel: Now What?” I had already heard everything they had to say, had more resources than they mentioned and had attended much better workshops about just this topic. Why did I bother attending then? Because I was too scared to fix up my novels and submit them already! I’ve written 3 1/2 novels. They may not be perfect but I need to get some rejections just to toughen up my skin anyway.

So when Saturday came, I criticized the panelists less, realizing that what they shared was good and knowledgable. I’d already heard it too many times to count from multiple sources. It was me, not them. And with this attitude, the second day was better. I also attended some really great panels that did teach me something.

And then fate took a hand and helped me along the way to take that next step. I applied what I knew and took the plunge.
I won’t post specifics as I want to be professional, but needless to say, I now have strong motivation to finish and polish up my current novel in the next six months.

So what I leave with you is this: if you know what you need to do, DO IT. Find your courage and act. Walk out on that stage, even if it feels like you’re being asked to walk on water. Have faith in yourself. You can do it.

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