I am on the train from San Diego to Los Angeles and then home. Then drive to the airport just a few hours later to catch a Virgin flight to Seattle for the start of AWP. So weird today dropping Mark at the airport then driving to the train station. I went south, he went north. But tomorrow I’ll go north as well. At least this AWP is in our time zone which is very unusual.
There are so many writers who I know at AWP that just saying, “Hey, hey hey,” will take a lot of energy without even doing any Robin Thicke moves which I wasn’t planning on doing in the lobby anyway.
What to do at AWP:
1. Say hello to friends. This is a gathering of your tribe. Enjoy the other members of the tribe. You are a lonely little writer living in your cave with the moths and your shadow against the wall. This is your time to come out to shed your skin, to walk around, to feel human.
2. Drink enough to have fun and not so much that you won’t have fun the next day. Or that you will embarrass yourself by doing something stupid.
3. Eat some yummy food.
4. Go out and walk around at least once.
5. Go to panels if they interest you.
6. Explore the book fair and visit your favorite journals and presses.
7. Try to get enough sleep.
9. Don’t worry if you don’t do everything/see everybody. Nobody does.
What to avoid thinking about at AWP
1. Noticing that other writers who aren’t any better than you have better jobs.
2. They make more money.
3. The sun shines on them and it rains on you. Ignore all this. It is inconsequential. Okay, that’s a lie, it matters a lot; it’s just not worth dying for. It’s not even worth getting worked up over for the simple fact that whether you get worked up or not, there will be lots of people who are luckier than you.
4. They have more publications, better publications, make more money and get more prizes. That is a fact of life.
5. I get twinges of envy. Whenever someone gets a teaching job I feel a swing in my gut. When a person gets a prize or publication, I feel like biting off my arm in agony, but I don’t. What I do instead:
6. I say, I got this. I have a super fun life. Great family. Great staff. I’m hanging with a cool sexy press. And I’m starting to do a little writing, get some work out there.
7. I think about the future and in that future I too am doing big things.
8. Running around with prizes, publications, teaching positions, champagne in my hands.
9. I imagine clapping.
10. I imagine flying and I have a good time in spite of all the people at AWP and on the planet who are luckier than I am. That’s the main thing. Just breathe, have a drink, plan for great wild success in the future and in the meantime, be happy with what you have and mostly be happy with who you are.