One of the really cool things for me about Austin is the way that it forces me to closely examine many of my own assumptions about what sort of person and writer I am at that given moment. This year, for example, I managed to do a lot of effective networking, and in hindsight I think that's a result of being a lot more comfortable with my own "deservedness" of the attention and respect of serious industry players. Those who know me at all in the real world know that I'm prone to a certain degree of arrogance and cockiness about my own work and abilities (no -- really) which is sometimes (but not always) mellowed by a strain of seething self-loathing which helps keeps my ego from lifting into geosynchronous orbit.
Five days of wrestling with this Rubik's Cube of self-valuation, locked in a clinch with that Jekyll-Hyde beast, often pays bizarre dividends.
In this most recent case I return from Austin looking at my new Rom-Com laying in a steaming heap in just-completed first draft form and suddenly realize the piece is not really about what it needs to be about... that the moments where I seem to be briefly touching upon oir alluding to some larger issue are the only moments which really have any relevance and emotional value for me. What the damned thing needs is not those odd little scabs removed or healed and no longer visible, but the rest of the peel pulled back so that the actual core concepts are left exposed and ragged and raw. There have been moments in my writing where I have looked back and said ""that is what I was trying to do... that was the writing I am trying to put out there...". Invariably those have been the results of creative moments where I was terrified to be standing alone on a stage, revealing my sins to an audience of potentially hostile witnesses, dropping trou at the front of teh church, where I felt like I was giving my confession through a stadium PA system.
Emotional honesty is a pain in the ass, but then again nobody said this was gonna be an easy gig.
Still, when something scares you, scare it right back.
"We shall use the old ways: speed of horse, strength of lance."