Last month, after some intense meditation on where next to take the book project, I discovered a conference taking place in Florida. According to its promoters, the conference not only focuses on refining one’s submission, getting the agent, and getting the contract, but on writing from a personal and meaningful space. In other words, the conference’s creative premise is that the quality of content is just as important as understanding the work as a product which must be presented and marketed to get an audience.
Several New York Times best selling authors will be there to help us understand the mechanics of both processes, writing and successfully submitting materials — and offering the best they have to give for those of us hammering out a dream.
When I stumbled on this conference, I felt like this was something I should do — a knowing. I never heard back from the coordinator when I requested information on a scholarship application, and I thought, “well, I guess your gut was wrong.” Then, two weeks ago, out of the proverbial blue, I received an application for the scholarship — tuition reduced by fifty percent. It was the last space, and I didn’t have a dime in the bank. I pressed for the space to be held, and it was reluctantly saved for me.
Through some very fortuitous circumstances — and I do mean, fortuitous, because I lost the scholarship twice, and got it back twice — I procured the scholarship. “We rarely do this, we’re making an exception for you,” the coordinator wrote me last week. Welcome to my world, I thought. Yes, I’m the exception, and the better for it. I’m the one who shouldn’t be here, but here I am.
I also quickly found cheap digs for staying, not easy in the heart of a Florida convention center city, and a generous friend has used his frequent flyer miles to get me there.
Here’s what’s inspired this entry. My dear friend called me yesterday to book the reservation, and I was trying to micromanage flight times, squeezing in this and that, insisting that I could only afford to stay three nights, even though I have this feeling that I should stay the day after the conference. I don’t know why, I just do. Micromanaging the money and then trying to figure out how I could squeeze in an extra day wasn’t working at all: the bus trip from New Hampshire to Boston, then the flight to Florida leaves small windows for transfers and check-ins. I got all wound up in my predictable indecision, frustrated and not really certain how or what to do. When pushed against the wall, I like to let circumstances dictate, pretending that I am going with the flow, when in reality I just don’t know what I am doing. It wasn’t happening, circumstances weren’t dictating anything, I needed to make decisions. My friend gently said to me, “here’s what I recommend,” and he convinced me to stay 5 nights in Florida. It felt right. Logically insane, but it felt right. “You will make it work,” he confidently said, without any doubt that I will do I need to do to stay for five nights in Florida. I realized then that doing this trip right meant honoring the investment of myself that I have already made, and the conference deserves a full investment of my courage and wits. My friend graciously swept away my insecurities, and my limited ideas.
I breathed deep. It was beautiful and it felt right.
Some gifts are priceless, extending beyond a frequent flyer plane ticket.
With this gesture, his confidence broke new ground for me. I majorly upped my life game during the course of one conversation. If this is something that I know I am to do, then why would I worry about the extra bucks and set myself up for unnecessary stress because I thought I had to cram everything into a short time. I’ve already given away most of what I own, hunkered down in the middle of nowhere without a car, and I’m going to worry about two extra nights in Florida? His insight was part of the big picture, the thing that’s unfolding.
Yes, I will make it work. It’s not in the budget, although that assumes that I have a budget. But I will make it work, and it will work. Because it will.
I can also cross one thing off of my new yearly list: “Every year, go one place that you have never gone before.” I can’t say that Florida is a place that I would have wished to go, but I’ve never been. So I’ve got one goal met, and since it’s early in the year, maybe I can squeeze in a visit to somewhere else that I’ve never been before 2015.
Five nights in the land of hanging chads, following my bliss into yet another leap into the unknown.
Couldn’t be happier knowing that my inner GPS and I are working it out just fine.
Not coincidently, I discovered a mesmerizing TEDTalk this past week, and it was part of the game changer mentality.
“Fake it until you become it” is a holy mantra these days.
Amy Cuddy On TEDTalks. Twenty minutes worth investing in, if you’ve not seen it.