I recently spent four days at the San Francisco Writers Conference thinking about connection, authenticity and anxiety. I’ll start with connection, then proceed with the other two in future blogs.
As I rode BART into SF on a cold, rainy Thursday, I was thinking about how I did not want to meet new people. I texted my “Squaw Baes,” the amazing quad of women that I met at last summer’s Squaw Valley Writers Workshop and who have been my writing support circle ever since. I texted them to say that I didn’t want to make new friends, didn’t want more baes. They told me to stop being a baby and play nice with others…well, not in those words…they are writers after all…but that’s what they meant.
In addition to my overwhelming anxiety (which will be discussed in my next blog and many others), I was for some reason resistant to connecting. That is not me. Connection is in my tag line. It’s who I am. I am all about connecting with people. So maybe it was my anxiety getting in the way, fear that these other “real” writers wouldn’t like me. Maybe it was managing expectations in case the people at this conference weren’t my people (which is basically a variation on fear of them not liking me), or maybe it was low energy brought on by February weather.
So anyway, that lasted about two minutes. I sat down near Lacey and immediately started a conversation, joined quickly by Mike, both of whom were my BFFs for the next few days. In each session, each meal, each event, I met more and more fabulous people, my people, people who live full and busy lives yet are called to express their creativity in this form that I love…writing. We write in hopes of being published, having others read our work, maybe making some money somewhere along the way. But mostly we write for ourselves. I write to connect with my own creative spark, with the characters I bring to life on the page, with my readers. And I also realize now that I write to connect with other writers. Publication would be the cherry on top!