Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What was I thinking?

Episode 1

By Annette Dashofy

I have a structural defect in my brain. Whenever I’m confronted with the prospect of taking on a new responsibility—one that takes place six months or a year from now—I gleefully accept the challenge. After all, it isn’t happening NOW. The future seems so far away. And, I dunno, maybe I expect the world to come to an end before it’s time to actually do anything about the new responsibility.

A little over a year ago, I did it again. On the final day of the 2007 Pennwriters Conference, I volunteered to head up the 2009 Conference.

What the hell was I thinking?

The 2008 Pennwriters Conference is now listed in the history books as the most successful one ever. Nothing like a little pressure to perform.

But still, the event is eleven months away. I have lined up Lisa Scottoline as our Friday night keynote speaker. Local favorite Tim Esaias will be our Saturday lunch keynote. John Lamb and C.J. Lyons are on tap as special guest speakers. Hey, I’m ahead of the curve here!

Or so I thought. Then came (cue spooky organ music) the grant application.

I was given the news last Thursday that I needed to gather a long list of detailed information on the conference in order to apply for a grant. And I needed it by Monday. Not wanting to be responsible for losing a shot at free money, I scrambled. For ten hours on Saturday, I sat at the computer pulling rabbits out of hats and spinning straw into gold. These were details I thought I still had months to leisurely work on. Months. Not days.

With the help of our Pennwriters president and the 2008 conference coordinator, the information and numbers for the budget were neatly compiled and presented to our treasurer.

Then I learned that since it appears that we stand a pretty good chance of not losing money on the project, we don’t qualify for the grant. It seems we did too good of a job of budgeting.

Which is good thing, I think.

Ah, well, the work wasn’t all for nothing. I am now even further ahead of the curve. I can almost relax and breathe. At least until the next fire drill.

Stay tuned.

And mark your calendar: 2009 Pennwriters Conference: A Writer’s Tool Chest takes place May 15-17 at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott.


Anonymous said...

How about inserting "treasure chest" for "tool chest" and making it a pirate theme? :-)

And, by the way, glad to hear about that "structural defect" in your brain (which previously I had only suspected.) Without people who have such structural defects, we wouldn't have an organization.

I'll be there with bells on! (Well, the bells will be on only metaphorically, unless you request my Morris dancing skills.)

Annette said...

Tory, the tool chest thing deals with our intend to equip the writer with the tools he/she needs to build a stronger story, book, or career.

But I do like the pirate theme idea. Didn't we talk about pirates here yesterday, too?

And I thinking I've just found our Saturday night entertainment--Tory in bells dancing for the crowds. Hmm.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I had that same structural defect. I had it fixed.

I'm even learning to say "no" to my wife. It can be liberating.

Annette said...

I would think saying "no" to your wife could also be rather hazardous to your health. Don't you know that with wives the standard answer is always, "Yes, dear."????

Anonymous said...

Annette -
I used to be a "yes-er" until I realized that saying "yes" not only gets you stuck with all the work, it also often gets you stuck with none of the thanks and lots of the resentment. I've been a skilled avoider ever since and, trust me, after that first moment of guilt, it really does feel great to be able to enjoy things rather than worry about making them run.

Annette said...

Gina, in my own defense (or rationalizing the insanity--take your pick) heading up this conference will put me in real face-to-face contact with a lot of agents and editors. Plus I have an excellent team and I have no qualms about delegating to them.

Having said that, I am announcing here and now that this will be my ONLY stint as conference coordinator. I intend on shifting my focus to my writing and ONLY my writing once I'm through. I keep hoping that I'll have a book deal by then and won't have time to take on such huge tasks.

Anonymous said...

It's going to be a great conference, especially when you lead everyone in yoga for the Saturday night entertainment. Really, I'm looking forward to this one. It's going to be great.

Like the theme, too, even though the pirate thing is tempting. Aaaaaarg.

Annette said...

Cathy, back at the 2005 conference, I offered a yoga class for writers and nobody came. So you guys had your chance.

Besides, by Saturday night, I'll be plenty entertaining without the yoga. I'll be doing the dance of joy that it's almost over! Rum all around! Oh, wait, that's the pirate thing again. Never mind.