Last bit about the conference. Suffice it to say, it was good, but painful.
I go into these things with no expectations. I'm getting so much better at that. Not taking comments about my writing personally. Good grief, the growth I've made in just the last year in terms of 'letting go' and letting my work stand on its own is mind-boggling. I no longer feel like a bear guarding her young. I feel like a writer. I must tell you, in retrospect, that is a great feeling.
Conferences are painful. I remember some bible quote about pruning a tree. Got to hurt. So do conferences and critique groups and opening yourself up to scrutiny and growth.
I"m beginning to see the fruits of my labor and find pruning, as much as I shudder at the thought of it, is worth the price. Not that I've had a book published yet, but that I know I will have. Not that the world is falling at my feet with accolades, mind you. There is just this inner sense, and it might only be for today, that I am on the right path. That is worth a fortune, I think.
As for the conference, there was the pain, as always: the growth, the dying to self, the awkwardness of not knowing anyone there, the eating lunch alone, the baring one's soul in group sessions. Life is a difficult task. Worth every moment.
Blessings to you and your writing.
As always, life is incredible.