A Writer’s Listening Block

Every SFO Writer’s event I attend brings something new into my life. I spent years focused on making others successful: my husband’s business, my children’s success, my boss etc. I brought up spending more time writing with my beloved and he was all for it, he was my biggest fan. I almost stopped volunteering when he died. He used to be my beloved chauffer for the hour long drive to SFO.  It was a special “couple time” in our busy schedule and often included a special dinner. He passed away at 52 and even though he is gone, I still find strength in his belief in me as more than a Technical Writer but as a Fiction Writer as well.

My plan is to just keep writing at this point. To learn more about the craft and to position myself for success with several manuscripts in good shape before “launching” which I plan to precede retirement in 3-5 years. The better my craft, the fewer years to retirement. This year I will have written at least 120,000 words towards my own success not including my blog (while working full time, mom to grown-up kids, and a being the best grandmother). I am also building my platform! Hah, I would have thought that involved 2 x 4’s and nails a few years ago!

This is where my changing mindset has been and where it is going.  I learn new things based on where my head is so I concentrate on being open to learning new things and not experiencing a mental “hardening of the arteries”.

This year at Writing for Change I had preconceived ideas about the line-up, Nina Amir is one of the speakers again and will Karma really show up? I schooled myself to keep an open mind and go to promote literacy in the craft as a volunteer, model hospitality to the attendees and to learn three new things.

I enjoyed Adam Hochschild as a keynote speaker (To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion 1914-1918), he opened my mind about writing history and how it can still touch us today. Michael Larsen always encourages writers to hold up their books and in doing so, to be their own promoter and to take themselves seriously as writers (I love his punny jokes). Jim Azevedo at Smashwords is always fun to talk to as well as some of the usual suspects like Nina Amir (The Author Training Manual). Elizabeth Pomada always brings a touch of class and kindness to any event as well as a wealth of knowledge and the editor/agent line-up was first class.

So what about the “usual suspects” specifically Nina Amir? I listen as I volunteer to keep track of the pulse of the attendees and anticipate their needs. While Nina was speaking, several of the attendees made comments about how valuable her information was. Attendees were taking notes on the handouts and making game plans. I have heard Nina speak several times on multiple topics that were value added for me but, my mind was not open to learning anything new from her, my mistake. The attendees comments helped me to listen with an ear towards learning something that will take me one step closer to success. Why had I discounted some solid advice?  I started taking notes after that and now have several pages of ideas and “next steps” towards my success. My apologies to Ms. Amir for my jaded listening skills.

This year I will miss the first few days of the annual San Francisco Writers Conference as I attend my baby’s wedding but I plan on catching the last day or two. I’m excited about my busy President’s Day Weekend 2015 and the new beginnings for those who will listen and have the courage to embrace new things!

Happy writing!

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