Anticipation: a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen; the act of preparing for something. —Merriam-WebsterThat about sums it up for me at the moment. While the winds howl and the rain pelts, I am all smiles and laughter. For, next week, I am off to the Surrey International Writers' Conference. For the uninitiated, it is a cornucopia of stimulation, a full-out feast of inspiration and word crafting for writers.
My four day foray into the joyous muddle of writing and publishing begins with journey by float plane. Weather permitting, I will be taking my first itty-bitty plane ride. I am ridiculously excited by this. Not even the fact that I must minimize my luggage is putting a damper on my eagerness to see the islands from above. Not to mention, rather than a two-hour ferry ride, I will be on the mainland in twenty minutes. Nothing against the ferry service—it is comfortable and scenic—but, seriously? Twenty minutes?
I am taking a master class the day before the conference starts. The thought of this class has me doing a happy dance and, for those who know me or who have followed this blog for any length of time, you will recognize immediately why this particular class has me hopping up and down. It is "Writing Sex Scenes" with…wait for it…Diana Gabaldon! For folks who don't know why I am giddy over this, let me give you a brief summary. Diana wrote my all-time favourite series that begins with Outlander. It re-ignited not just my joy of reading for pleasure but my love of writing too, essentially sending me down this path of wordsmithing that I so enjoy. Outlander also led me to a forum where Diana is very active, supporting readers and writers alike. She has encouraged me and given me feedback, often at times when I despaired of moving forward in my writing. I met her briefly in Fergus. A highlight for me. Now, I get to learn from her in person. And, between the forum and having read her books, including the latest e-book, I Give You My Body, there is no doubt in mind that she is a master of the craft.That forum I've mentioned? It has been a gold mine for me over the last eight or so years. Populated by published and wanna-be-published writers, it is a supportive environment where I have been encouraged to grow and learn. I consider many people on it my friends, even though I have not met many of them. That is about to change. An unprecedented number are flying in from around the world for this conference. At last count, I believe, we were at 40. Included in this number are two of my beta readers for Raven's Path—one from Germany and the other from California. I never thought I'd get to meet them and thank them personally for taking the time to read a novel and give feedback to a stranger.
Of course, I am also looking forward to the myriad of workshops and talks. Last year, I was entertained as well as enlightened. I laughed and cried and the cogs in my writer's brain got so well-oiled, they began to spin. Inspired, I came home and wrote Cutting to the Chase in a month. It literally spilled onto the page.
So, dear readers, these are the things that currently fill me with anticipation. I will not be blogging next week, but know that I will be immersed in my writer's world, embraced by friends old and new, and nurtured by the seasoned guard of authors who so kindly feed my soul.