My writing has suffered because I've been busy co-chairing Sisters in Crime’s first ever Forensic University of St. Louis, this last Nov. 1 through 4. The conference began as a crazy idea my friend Michelle Becker and I hatched. The national board of Sisters in Crime thought it worthwhile and supported us--in ways too numerous to count.
ForU attracted 114 attendees and showcased 16 presenters. Fifty folks who came in early Thursday traveled to the Bull’s Eye Shooting Range to shoot indoors. The conference proper spanned two and a half days with 30 different “classes” being offered. We also raised about $4,000 for the Crime Lab Project Foundation.
On Sunday, after we pronounced the group officially “graduates of the Class of 2007,” a member from our local chapter came up and embraced me. Her own writing schedule had precluded her from helping out. But she whispered in my ear, “I had no idea of the scope of what you were trying to do. This...this is just fabulous.”
Which begs the question, “What exactly WERE Michelle and I trying to do?” Besides have twin nervous break-downs, spend all our waking hours on conference related “stuff,” drop all our own writing entirely by the wayside, rope other people into this…this madness, and run around like a couple of chickens with their heads cut off?
Well, we had a vision. We thought the writing world needed a different sort of conference. Michelle and I wanted access to more information about the crime portion of our craft. We figured other people might need the same. And we were just crazy enough to think that two meeting planning novices could pull this off.
And we did. People are saying it was the best conference they ever attended. Don’t take my word for it. Check out Libby Fischer Hellmann’s post http://www.theoutfitcollective.com/ Donna Andrews’ comments at http://femmesfatales.typepad.com/ and Meg Chittenden’s comment posted on DorothyL: “I've been attending conferences and conventions connected with writing and/or mystery for over 30 years, and I have to say that this one was way up there.”
Yeah, I’m still digging through paperwork, finishing reports and answering emails. So, it's true: This took up a lot of my available energy and writing time. But to have a dream and to see it come true, well, that’s incredibly empowering. Besides, there were other compensations. Turns out, the bigger the gun, the better my aim. My husband and son have new respect for me. (Or maybe that's FEAR in their eyes. Who can tell?)
I’m curious. What cuts into your writing or creative time? Is that interloper worthwhile? Do YOU think I wasted my time?