Renegade Reflections

WANACon, WANA International and Other Cool Things

I went to an astounding writers’ conference this past weekend. I want to share it with you.  I know, you may be asking, why would I tell you about a conference that was last week? I want to share for several reasons.  The conference was put together by the folks at WANA International, which is a community of artists that I highly recommend for throwing a lifeline of support and community to independent artists. Kristen Lamb, writer of the social media guide, We are Not Alone (familiarly, WANA), with a few instructors and other minions, has created the WANA International community. If you are an artist, check them out.

I am also telling you about the conference because it was virtual.  Yes, I sat in my little garret in upstate New York with my fuzzy slippers on, and attended a conference that went past my bedtime.

Finally, I am telling you about the conference not out of some “look what I did last weekend, and you didn’t,” but because last weekend was not the only WANA conference, nor is it going to be the only one this year.  Kristen puts it well in her announcement: “The Digital Age has completely altered the publishing world, and writers need to be equipped. Changes are coming faster than anyone can keep up, so we no longer have the luxury of waiting a few months or a year for a standard writing conference. With new opportunities come new challenges, and new predators.”

Interested? Check out the particulars: the speakers, the keynotes, and the parties, detailed in the rest of Kristen’s post.

I plan to talk about my experiences, once my brain has plotted paths to all the new information, which should take a few more days.

My brief ROW80 check-in is here.


Lessons Learned and Au revoir, New York

Today I leave New York City and return to my now-familiar haunts in upstate New York.  I enjoy the dip into the big city, drawing energy from the crowds on the sidewalks, the taxis blaring by, horns in counterpoint, the aromatic steam rising from the food trucks, all waking me early and filling the well.

I’ve been doing back flips into the research pool, and must admit climbing out to go back to my day job reminds me of being summoned from the neighborhood pool on hot summer days when I was a child. I also had to deal with the magpie this week, as I kept finding interesting side paths while working on my article.  I am proud to say I just kept putting notes in an idea file for future research trips.

My husband came to the city yesterday morning, so I managed to meet my date night goal.  We didn’t do anything much, but wandered around the city and talked.

Tomorrow, I’m starting the blogging class taught by Kristen Lamb at wana.intl, and am looking forward to learning and improving.

Speaking of learning, I want to share something I learned from the academic writing group in which I participate. This quote is from Dame Eleanor Hull’s post where she attributes the quotation to Dr. Isis’ post here.

“A friend just gave me a new framework for ways of comparing things: normative, ipsative and aspirational. So think about reaching a goal, say training for a marathon.  Normative – how do I compare to others around me with whom I train: are they getting better faster than me? Ipsative – how do I compare to where I was: am I running at a consistently faster pace than a month ago? Aspirational – how do I compare to where I want to be – can I run 20 miles without puking?”

It made me think about how we can make these comparisons negative or positive, depending on our psyche, or our mood of the moment. For example, I could take the normative comparison to beat myself up–”this acquaintance easily wins NaNo every year, so I’m a failure since I haven’t ever won.” Or the aspirational comparison could be so far out of reach as to be ridiculous–”I’ll have a book contract and three novels under my belt by this time next year.”

However, I can make positive normative and aspirational goals, which are the kind that work best in ROW80.  I have to admit, though, that I am intrigued by ipsative goals, where I compare myself to me, and I can celebrate progress, or even give myself little rewards. 🙂

Also, Kait gave a wonderful explanation and rationale for visiting each other and strengthening this great community in her check-in post.  You can find everyone here.

Let me know what you think about these comparison techniques for goals, and how you might use the different techniques in your own goals.  I love to hear from you.