I wasn't going to go to LTUE this year. I had never really heard about LTUE until this year. At first, when I started hearing about it, I assumed it was only for fantasy and sci-fi writers. Then I looked at the class schedule and realized there were tons of classes I was interested in attending.
I mentioned this fact in passing to my husband. He took off work without me even asking him to and said he was going to watch the kids and I was going to go to the conference.
My husband is a stud.
The conference has been fantastic, and I am so glad I came. The panels and classes have been educational and informative, but more than that it's been so fun to meet all the people I've been friends with online for months!
I think the real value of these conferences is in meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. I've always struggled with large social settings, and this was the first time I had people to actually do stuff with and talk to at the conference. I'm so grateful for that! Participating in my various critique groups and putting myself in online social situations has really helped me get over some of my fears and be a little less awkward (though only by a tiny bit) at this conference.
It's pretty rare in the "real" world to run into a writer. That's why I value my critique groups and online relationships so much. They're that connection with people who understand a craft and love it, just like me. Conferences are like writers groups and online chats on steroids.
I had an awesome time hanging out and chatting with people from my various critique groups today, as well as other friends. Me and two of the people from my online critique group, Wendy and Lauren, took off the afternoon to write. We found a relatively quiet corner and had so much fun! I was able to get some super awesome ideas from them during our brainstorming session for the new WIP I'm working on, and I'm more excited about this project than ever.
I have had such a fantastic time at LTUE, and now I am so excited for LDStorymakers in May! I think the best part has been looking back and seeing how much I've done since the last writer's conference I've attended. I'm actually making progress on my writing, and it feels really good.