The (Unexpected) Things You Learn When You Go To A Writer’s Conference

Saturday, I went to a writing conference in Columbus, Indiana. It was a small one, lasting only one day, and sponsored by Pen It! Magazine. Now, while I do have plans to tell you a bit about what happened during the conference, today’s post is about what I learned while on the road to and from the conference. I learned a lot.

My GPS is out to kill me.

I was excited to put in the address and let my phone’s GPS guide me to my destination. I hadn’t yet had the chance to use it. Once I got out of town and onto roads I wasn’t familiar with, she started acting up. It was a little disconcerting when she told me I had gone a different direction and she had to recalculate a new route. According to my little icon on the map, I was still at least 2 miles away from where I was supposed to turn. Still, when she was done finding a new route, I discovered I was about 5 miles past where my icon had been. I really had missed my turn. Instead of just turning around and retracing my steps, I decided to let my phone do the leading and I’d follow along. I should have known better. I had pissed my phone’s GPS off. How dare I not follow her directions? Ya know? So, to pay me back, she sends me driving through Deliverance country.

Oh My God I’m gonna die.
by Dana Ross Martin from WANA Commons


There are all kinds of twists and turns and driving down side streets that I didn’t know GPS even knew about. I eventually made it out of that area and to Columbus… Only to be stopped by a Road Closure. She knew about side roads that were little more than dirt trails, but she didn’t know about a road closure? So, I had to backtrack. She didn’t help any at all until I made it several miles back the way I came. Then she was all like, “This is the way you go, hun.” and I was all like, “Yeah, thanks for nothing!” and she was all like “I got you here didn’t I?” and I was all like, “Whatever.”

Also, she ate up all of my phone’s battery.

Though I was about fifteen minutes late, I did make it to the Crump Theatre where the conference was being held. She didn’t give me any problems when it was lunchtime and I went searching for a place to eat. She didn’t give me any problems on the way back to the theatre.

It wasn’t until I was in the van ready to drive back home that she decided to act up again. The road she wanted me to take was the closed one from earlier. So, I had to use the little map my icon was on to find my way around. Every couple of minutes, I’d tap the screen for her to recalculate only to have her telling me there was no way for me to get home. Twice, she didn’t even know where I was. With no help from her, I finally made it back to a place I recognized with signs pointing to a town I knew well. I tapped the screen again, but she didn’t want me to go that way. I ignored her once I saw the new route she had for me. I’m not quite sure how it’s faster to get home if you go far, far East when you’re home is to the Southwest. I got home just fine on my own.

The sun is so beautiful, it’s blinding

I’ve seen sunrises before and they are absolutely beautiful. Unless you’re driving East while it’s coming up. I wear glasses, and they’re not the kind with lenses that darken in the sunlight. Even with those, I doubt the sun would have been any less blinding.

I’m blind enough without the sun making it really real.
by Rebecca Barray from WANA Commons

The drive in the morning was beautiful. Fall was apparent in the red, orange, and yellow leaves on every side of the road. At one point, a fog descended. It wasn’t bad. I could still see a ways in front of me, but blinded by sun and fog is not good.

Until I saw the most beautiful thing nature could ever show me.

On a straight way, the fog still around, the sun emerged bathing the fog in a golden glow. The road was flanked by trees on either side, their changing leaves filtering the sunlight to create a strobe effect in all the colors of fall.

People. I wish I’d taken a picture. This was a  once in a lifetime experience and holy cow if it wasn’t gorgeous. It is permanently imprinted on my brain.

Drinking Red Bull is like listening to a waterfall, faucet, and rain all at once while sticking your hands in a bowl of cold water.

The day exhausted me. My brain soaked up knowledge like a dry sponge and I was left dazed. I had a two hour drive ahead of me and I knew better than to do it without a little bit of help. I try not to drink Red Bull after three in the afternoon, but Saturday I made an exception. I had no interest in falling asleep behind the wheel and I was afraid that’s what would happen. I stopped at a gas station and picked up a twelve ounce can before hitting the road.

Forty-five minutes later, I had to pull into another gas station. The last time I had to pee that bad, I was full-term with Little Man. I did my business and got back on the road. Half an hour later, I was hit with a need just as bad. I pulled over at the next gas station, then continued my drive.

by Lynn Kelley from WANA Commons

I decided to stop and pick up some fast food (the kind we don’t have in our small town) for Hubs. While waiting in line at the drive-thru, I got hit with a need to find a bathroom. Again. I got the food and started driving. It’s an area that I travel frequently, so I knew where the next gas station was. Little did I know that waiting even that short a time would test my ability to drive while extremely distracted.

I’m glad to say I made it to the gas station and home without another dire need to find a toilet.

Anyways, now that you know far too much about my bladder control, I’ll leave you to plan your own adventure=)

About Katie Doyle

Katie Doyle is an avid reader, writer of NA and Adult fiction, a mom to two tornadoes that resemble an eight and six year old, and pet to a tuxedo cat named Oz and a German Shepherd/Boxer rescue named Charlie. If she's not reading, writing, or getting Oz out of a tree, she's screaming at characters on TV and trying not to curse around her kids.
This entry was posted in Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The (Unexpected) Things You Learn When You Go To A Writer’s Conference

  1. Pingback: Giving Flaws to Your Characters: Writing as Catharsis | Writing, Reading, and Life

  2. Pingback: Celebrate Halloween! | Writing, Reading, and Life

  3. Pingback: 2012 Bartholomew County Writer’s Conference | Writing, Reading, and Life

Comments are closed.