Yep, I went to my first writers’ conference… all by myself.  Initially, I hoped that one of the gals in my critique group would come with me, but she had family commitments.  I almost chickened out.  It’s amazing how we can be our own worst enemy and completely derail our own dreams.   So many excuses popped into my head:

–  It’s expensive.

–  The kids need me.

–  I hate driving in the city.

–  It’s a holiday weekend.

–  I don’t know anyone.

–  I’m not published, should I even call myself a writer?

– The food will be icky (it wasn’t).

–  And my whiniest… I’ll have to get up so early!

Finally, I made up my mind to put on my big girl pants and just go.

Best decision ever!

It is amazing how quickly one can adjust to new surroundings.  I walked in to the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco on Thursday 14th, braced for the worst.  Ogres? Giants? Ghouls?  Or worse, sitting in the corner all weekend not knowing a soul?  Anything was possible.

Instead, I found warm, creative, inclusive souls all there for the same things: perfecting our craft and gaining knowledge of this wacky business called publishing.  I met some really great people who I hope to keep in touch with.  I received some constructive feedback on my book, The Dragon in the Garden.  I discovered that agents and editors are not actually flesh-eating zombies ala Shaun of the Dead.  Get this, they are real live people who smile and crack jokes, the whole nine yards of humanity.  Who knew?  Most reassuring.

After only a few hours I made another astonishing discovery, I was truly at home.  I was having fun.  I was, and remain, inspired.  Mind you, after four days my brain is FULL.  It will take some time to process.  I have action items to list, revisions to do, social media connections to set up and requested pages to send to agents.  Overwhelmed?  You bet.  Excited?  You know it.

Now that SFWC is over… I find myself a little homesick for it.

SFWC- looking forward to 2014!

SFWC- looking forward to 2014!

Here’s your Musical Monday treat… Home by Phillip Phillips.  Sometimes you can feel at home in some unexpected places.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoRkntoHkIE

For your viewing pleasure, here are the lyrics to Home:

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  Did you enjoy it?  Follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner

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