Next month I’m attending my first ever blogging/writing-related conference – the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Ohio. It’s an event for humor and human interest writers. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also a little unsure about the whole thing. There will be people at this event who get paid to write – for blogs, media, books. They are legit and profesh. I, on the other hand, have written more than 10 blog posts about a masked baby doll.
A very large portion of my brain has been questioning this decision since the moment I registered. I think that’s why I’ve had a mild case of writing paralysis lately. I love to write and I love to laugh, but it’s hard to justify that as something worthy of a cross-country trip with travel expenses, not to mention 3+ days away from my family. Especially when I have never left my kids before and OMG I HAVE NEVER LEFT MY KIDS BEFORE.
But at this point I need to quit doubting myself and embrace reality because I bought a non-refundable plane ticket. Ain’t no stopping me now.
The main reason I’m going to the conference is to learn and be inspired. I tend to look at writing as my guilty pleasure. My secret pastime. My excuse to tell fart jokes on the internet.
But the truth is that I often enjoy writing silly stories more than I enjoyed my 13-year career. And I invested a lot of time, effort and energy in that career. So why not put a little effort into my writing? After all, maybe there’s a better way to tell a good fart joke?
Ok, so perhaps I’m a little confused about why exactly I’m going to this conference and what I will gain from it.
But I do know this – writing is and has always been a passion of mine, and I blog because it’s fun. Going to this conference feels indulgent and selfish and weird and exciting, but I’m not going to overthink it or beat myself up for being a small fish.
Instead I’m going to soak it all in, appreciate the opportunity to meet and learn from people with similar interests, savor the chance to get a full night of UNINTERRUPTED sleep, and enjoy meeting fellow bloggers in real life for the first time (including Leigh Ann, who convinced me to attend. If it sucks, it’s all her fault. I kid!).
And if I start to doubt my reasons for attending, I will remind myself that I do have at least one legitimate, non-Creepy Baby piece of writing to author.
A few months ago my mom mailed me an obituary she had cut out of the newspaper. It was for a woman named Margaret who passed away at the age of 92. I didn’t know Margaret and neither did my mother, but she sent it to me because she thought it was well-written and peppered with an appropriate touch of humor. She wanted me to see it for reference, to serve as an example of the tone and content she would like in her own obituary – which she has tasked me with writing.
To be clear – my mother is healthier than I am. She just has a deep appreciation for good writing, a morbid desire to plan ahead, and a disturbing fascination with tributes to dead strangers. I don’t foresee needing to pen her obituary anytime soon, but given how important it clearly is to her that I get it right when the time comes, I think it’s only prudent that I attend a workshop on ‘human interest’ writing.
So you see? I kind of owe it to my mother to attend so I don’t let her down. And because I couldn’t find a conference for obituary writers.
I doubt you need much help in writing funny stories, as you seem to rock that already. But I bet you will have a wonderful time and pick up lots of new ideas and nifty writers’ tricks! I love your blog and enjoy seeing new posts.
Thank you! I hope you’re right!
Gah, now I feel all guilty for talking you into it. But you will love it! Well, I’ve never been either, but I think we will love it!
Honestly, I think you are putting the other attendees on too much of a pedestal. Sure, some of them may get paid to write, but I have a feeling that a lot of them are just plugging along like us. Maybe they have a goal or a dream, but no one will look down on you for being there. If they do, I’ll kick them in the taco.
Don’t feel guilty. I am grateful that you talked me into it! I know I’ll get something out of it.
And I’m sure you’re right. I am just battling my own insecurity demons if I feel out of place being there. Although it would be fun to watch you kick tacos.
Well, I’m jealous that you’re going to a big-time writer’s conference, although I personally believe you have more than a thing or two you could teach THEM **cough cough Creepy Baby cough cough ** Have a mahhhvelous time!
I wish you were going too! I’ll bring Creepy Baby with me. She loves conferences, although she demands her own chair and a gluten-free menu. Should be fun.
I would throw in $20, where do I send it. Not frivolous Mama! In your humor there is a lot of truth and struggle aside from the farting and that is helping other Mamas get through their own stuff. You are totally legit.
Aw, thank you! You made my day, so I’ll let you keep your $20. For now.
The Erma Bombeck writers workshop looks good. I hadn’t seen that on BloggingTix.com. . .looks good. Do a lot of bloggers attend or is it mostly writers?
I only know bloggers going but I’m guessing it’s a mixed bag. We shall see!
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