21 and Freaking Out for the SF Writing Conference

I’m absolutely thrilled about the SFWC, but of course that goes without saying. It’s my first professional conference. When I was in high school I used to go to the International Career Development Conference to compete with other teenagers (and whoop their butts, I might add) in sales and marketing presentation DECA competitions, but this is so radically different. This is about my dreams, and what I want. I’m chasing it as directly and vigorously as I can.

This is the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought. It’s strange finally being financially independent of my parents; no longer a child, no longer in school, no longer in the realm where I can go to them when I want something. I’m not complaining…I’m revelling in it. I got a job after college, and I used it to pay for an investment in my future as a writer.

I’m trying not to delude myself into thinking that something fantastic is going to happen at the San Francisco Writing Conference. I’m not going to find an agent and have a Disney-esque happy ending with a publisher. However, I might learn something invaluable. I might meet someone of importance. I might network my way a step closer to wherever it is I need to be in order to actually get myself published.

I’ve been going through the schedule again and again thinking about how grown up this is, and how totally, utterly a child I still am. I am so not ready for this. It’s like doing your first-ever cannonball into the pool. I have no idea what I’m doing; I just hope I make a sizeable splash.

This is going to be such a high-intensity event, and I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be among the youngest of the attendees. I still get mistaken for a high schooler all the time. I’m going to get carded at bars until I’m on the other side of fifty. I look young. While it’s a long-term advantage, right now it just stops people in their tracks as often as not. They want to know how old I am that I’m acting like a professional and looking like I should be at a Bieber concert. I actually find it kind of novel and fun. The way I figure it, anyway I can catch people’s eyes is good. The hard part of art is getting people to look in the first place. Once you have their eyes, all you have to do is be competent and interesting enough to continue holding their attention.

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