It's 12:51am on Tuesday morning and I've been back from the Surrey Writing Conference for about 12 hours. I've been conscious for about six of them.
Going to a conference is the closest I will ever get to being a rock star or a sex goddess. When I'm at a conference, because I'm an agent, almost everyone wants to talk to me, sit with me at lunch or dinner, and they certainly all laugh at my jokes. It's damn fun let me tell you.
(It's also got nothing to do with me and everything to do with my job, and I forget that at my peril.)
At Surrey this weekend, a very dear woman named Sue Goddard stayed up till 3am to pick me up at the airport and whisk me off to the hotel.
The next morning two other volunteers were assigned to help me teach my class on query letters and they busied themselves doing everything they could to make my life easier including rearranging all the furniture in the classroom twice. Another long time volunteer Dan made it his business to make sure the overhead projector worked.
Everywhere I turned someone was glad to bring me coffee, buy me a drink, make sure I had everything I wanted, needed, or thought I might need.
It's damn addictive let me tell you.
I have to remind myself that it's not the real world either. Not even close.
There's a real transition period after conferences, particularly ones like Surrey when I've been away for five days.
Back here in the real world no one is at my beck and call, and no one is hanging on every word. No one is trying to make my life easier; they all want to know what I'm doing to sell more instead. (Given that's my actual job, it's hard to argue!)
Being a rock star for a day is the upside to conferences, as is the chance to hang out with friends and colleagues, and sometimes (like at Surrey) with clients. It's a lot of fun. The down side is that conference prep, travel, attendance, and the uptick in queries afterward takes a lot of time. I've been to six or seven conferences this year not counting BEA and Bouchercon and I'm as behind on my work as I've ever been, and I can't stand it.
I also think I'm getting a little too fond of being treated like a rock star. It's really really easy to forget that "being" an agent isn't quite the same thing as doing the actual work. I think it's time to hang out in the real world for a while and earn back my rock star status.
I've decided to take a year off from attending conferences. I'm going to use the time to get caught up (I hope!) but also because this really is the part I love: the actual work.
Still, it's going to be damn hard giving up that rock star stuff let me tell you! Feel free to lavish me with adulation any time!