I'm in Wisconsin yet at the UW Writer's Institute, and I swear each time I attend, it gets better and better. (This is my third year attending.) Of course, as I sit in on the various workshops I still have to silence the voice in my head that says, "You don't belong here!" "You don't know what you're doing." "You're out of your league."
One of the best ways to silence that voice is to listen to other writers and published authors at the conference, namely the keynote speaker, those on the author panel, agents, and workshop presenters. The keynote speaker this year, Hank Phillippi Ryan, shared a phenomenal message titled, "What I Wish Someone Had Told Me." There's nothing like hearing an award-winning author tell you that they struggled with exactly the same issues you're struggling with: self-doubt, finishing a manuscript, and receiving rejection letters, just to name a few.
The conference wraps up tomorrow, and my head is spinning like a tornado, but it's all good. Attending a conference should be a priority in any writer's life. Conferences are communities, and you need it, friend, if you're writing. The act of writing may be a solitary process, but birthing your creative work into the world is where a conference becomes your midwife, coaching you through labor and delivery. Keep breathing. Transition is rough. (I should know. I've birthed seven children!) Write through it. Inhale. Exhale. Push through.
The end result?
Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.