When I completed my first novel, I called my mother, somewhat farklempt. “Take a nap,” she said. “You just birthed a novel.”
‘Creativity’ has historically been used interchangeably with the term ‘genius,’ a Latin word derived from the Greek ‘ginsethai.’ Translation? “To be born.” In other words, Mom was right on that birthing bit.
And our creative artistry may require as much…um, pleasurable interaction as literal ‘birthing’ does. (No, I’m not referring to THAT type of interaction, although hmm… I do think that helps. Another blog topic entirely…) Back to my point.
In a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in Nov. 2009, researchers found a significant link between creativity and social interaction among corporate employees. Employees with intermediate social interaction exhibited significantly more creativity than those with weak or strong social ties.
We can take this to mean that A) sitting at home in our writing caves 24/7 can zap our creativity, partying every night and much of our days on Twitter, Facebook and other social media what-have-yous can do the same, and C) moderate amounts of social engagement can boost your creative juices. Yeah-oo!
Writers conferences provide an awesome opportunity for concentrated amounts of interaction so that we can spend most of our time in between with our craft.
Last week, I had the joy of spending several days at Bouchercon—an annual convention where readers, creators and devotees of crime fiction unite. As usual, I experienced the slightest bit of guilt before leaving Los Angeles. I should be writing. Is it worth the time “off?” Perhaps I’m spending too much money. Seeing as it wasn’t my first conference, I already knew the answers to my concerns: You’ll probably write there. Your writing will improve as a result. This IS part of your work. DUH, of COURSE it’s worth it. And important. And a blast.
I connected with friends I met last year, made new ones and experienced more than a few epiphanies regarding my writing throughout. In a word, it was inspiring. One highlight involved meeting Pat Frovarp and Gary Shulze—co-owners of the “Once Upon a Crime” bookstore in Minneapolis, near my former stomping ground and where I hope to have my first Midwestern book signing.
And now I’m back in my L.A. “office” (my bull dog-topped sofa), with heightened vigor for my writing routine. And see? I’m still finding time to pop in, post, Tweet, FB, etc.
If you’ve considered attending a writers conference and haven’t yet taken the leap, please do so. I can almost guarantee you’ll thank me.
A few fabulous resources:
Southern California Writers Conference Open to all genres and levels; craft, business, fiction/nonfiction; tight-nit group with lots of support. A great place to start! For a fee, have some of your writing reviewed by an agent, editor or author.
Bouchercon 2012 Plenty of time to prepare/save up, etc. For readers, writers, agents, publishers, book sellers and editors of crime fiction. Fantastic panels and speakers, fun fun fun!
Dallas Fort Worth Writers Conference Ample access to agents and others pros, terrific speakers, workshops, etc.
Writers Conferences and Centers Search for conferences by keyword.
Comment on your experiences or goals regarding writers conferences or similar interactions (clubs, critique groups, etc). One lucky winner will win a $15 Amazon.com gift card!