I have been torn between a choice in the past few months and time is ticking away. Time to make a decision.
Do I go to the RWA Writer’s conference in Nashville or get a new kitchen floor?
As in life, the choice is not as simple on the surface as it seems. Most people tell me I’m crazy not to get the floor. The conference is intangible. I am not currently under contract yet to publicize a book. I have no one special to go with me. It costs tons of money that can be used for a variety of other things, including my kitchen floor. Yes, Nora Roberts (bow down here) and Jayne Ann Krentz (another head nod) are my idols and they will be speaking. There is information in the workshops, a literacy booksigning, and the chance to see other writers and network with agents and editors. It’s definitely a good career move, but again, not a make or break kind of deal for this price. Especially since the conference is going to be in New York next year and I can go for much cheaper.
Now – the floor. My three year old has a little game he likes to play with his brother. He chases him around with some sort of object: pirate swords, plastic pitchforks, baseball bats. At one time, he had a large pair of plastic pliars that looked damn scary. Well, this game evolves when he holds a large object – he stands in the kitchen and hits the object against the floor with glee, in anticipation of getting his older brother. Yes, like a caveman holding a club. So, my cheap tile has cracked a long time ago and we suffer in silence.
My husband is extremely supportive in my goal to make some sort of money with my writing, and though he is not a partner who likes to read all my work or critique me, he does his best to understand when I need to work, and support me in my efforts. So, he told me if that’s what I want to use the money for, he will back me up.
Our summer travel vacations have also booked up fast, and with a family of four, our budget has taken a hit with all the fun things we plan to do with the kids. Including 3 days of my precious vacation time. Many logical pros and cons. Making a choice with either your head or your heart, and neither is ever wrong, it just is.
So, I finally decided.
I am going to the conference.
After all the wonderful facts and figures and reasons not to go, it came down to one simple thing. I want this. I want to go to this conference and feast on the advice of writers I adore. I want to be with other writers during meals, and buy books with autographs, and bring my laptop to write in any spare time I have. I want to have a conference with an editor or agent and feel nervous and excited at the prospect of the future. I want to go alone and just sink into this world I love so much and give myself permission for it to be ok.
And it is ok. Yes, a conference is a few days and a kitchen floor is for life (hopefully). But these few days will remain with me as an experience only I can put a price on. There is too much logic in life sometimes – bills, sacrifices for family, day jobs, and doing a lot of things you don’t feel like doing. But my choice is straight from the heart, the same choice when I am picking up a romance novel to read. Pure emotion and passion and flying. I am going to this conference because my dreams are important, and I am standing up for them. I want my kids to follow their own dreams. I can only teach them the lesson if I am the role model.
I should have known it would be my choice. I can still remember my father telling me as soon as I saved any money, I’d spend it on some travelling adventure or some project that made me feel alive. I may have grown up and made some hard, rational choices as a wife and mom, but the person I am still lives inside of me – that person who screams out to take a chance and do something for myself.
I sent in my conference registration and booked my hotel. I am going with no expectations – just an open mind and heart to live in the experience and get some writing done.
Floors are overrated anyway.