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As some of you know, I've been going to the New England Society for Children's Writers and Illustrators conference for years now, sometimes as an attendeed, sometimes as faculty. This year I was in the former status, since my workshops didn't get picked up. While I love being on faculty there and hope to be included again, I have to say that I also really enjoy attending and going to various workshops.

This year, I'm learning about balance. Not just because of the mindfulness meditation that I've been working on in everyday life, but also in other ways.

For instance, on Friday, I started with Meditations for Writers & Illustrators by Laurie Calkhoven. It was almost 2 hours in length, and included a number of short meditation sessions followed by writing prompts. The notion of incorporating meditation as part of the writing process was new to me, but makes total sense. Laurie credits it with adding depth to her stories, not just the characters but also the descriptions of setting and the like. It's something I intend to try out in the near future. (It was also a really restful way to start the conference.)

My second Friday session was "Managing Your Writing: Managing Your Life" with Janet Doucette and Pegi Deitz Shea. It was a stress management session (or, as Janet called it, "stress resiliency"), with lots of helpful tips and pointers. Again, it's related to finding balance - here, balance among various aspects of life, from creative life to the business aspect related to create lift to work life (if you have another job as well) to personal life. A key point from the presentation is one I've already been learning: "Multi-tasking is NOT in your best interest!" I found the entire session to be useful, though the presenters had to rush to fit their time-slot, which made it slightly stressful (in a way). Still, great points and great notes. Plus this reminder: "You are the only thing holding you back when it comes to taking a risk." Word.

The third way that this weekend's conference helped me with balance is by forcefully reminding me (via pain and other triggers) that I really, truly can't do it all. And in this case, "all" meant going to all the sessions I would have liked to attend. Part of it is that the days were tightly scheduled - there were only 5 minutes between workshops, lectures, etc., which meant you had to rush to get from one to the other. But part of it is that when my health is not optimal (and let's face it, mine hasn't been optimal for a while now), fatigue is a real factor. And there was just no way to soldier through without causing a full-on flare. As it is, my hip has been shrieking at me since Saturday night, and I was welcomed home by a migraine.

It could, however, have been so much worse. I could have pushed through instead of skipping out of part of Grace Lin's speech (I hear she was fabulous, and I believe it - she's such a rock star!) and missing the first workshop of the afternoon (again, I hear Emma Dryden was fabulous, and I was sorry not to be able to attend); instead, I went back to my room and took a nap. Also, I was smart to invite my sweetheart to come along with me, because (a) he really helps keep me balanced, (b) we had a great time, and (c) he was there to drive all the way home yesterday, which would have been grueling for me, since it's my right leg (or the one attached to my "driving foot") that has the hip issue, and being in the car when it's yelling is bad, but driving with it is horrendous.

Later, my thoughts and notes about Saturday at the conference, which was awesome, despite my whining just now.


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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
amygreenfield
May. 6th, 2013 08:04 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry it was a rough weekend, Kelly. I had a NESCBWI conference like that last year, when a bout of food poisoning kicked off a general lupus flare. Good for you for pacing yourself! I hope you feel better soon. *hugs*
kellyrfineman
May. 6th, 2013 08:11 pm (UTC)
Gah! Food poisoning is one thing I managed to avoid - our meals up there were great, in and out of the hotel. But my body is on the edge of a flare at all times of late, so it doesn't take much stress (good or bad) to tip it. Grr.

I am sure I'll be fine shortly. Or what passes for fine these days, which is the same thing.
soulfully
May. 6th, 2013 08:57 pm (UTC)
The sessions you were able to attend sounded wonderful. I'm so sorry you had a flare up and couldn't attend the rest of the sessions you were interested in, but you made the right choice. You are more important!
kellyrfineman
May. 6th, 2013 09:16 pm (UTC)
Those two Friday sessions were brilliant, and the Saturday sessions I made it to(which I will get to in another post) were also good.

Edited at 2013-05-06 09:17 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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