I went to Crimebake last weekend - a great conference put on by the New England chapters of MWA and SinC. It was just the right size - not so big as to be intimidating for a crowd-phobe like myself, but with plenty of new people to meet.
One of the best things about it, though, was that I got to attend with my brother Mike. He's an amazing writer, but that's not what made it so much fun. No, it was the knowledge that one of my most supportive fans was *right there* with me the whole time.
I write good stuff sometimes. I also write mediocre stuff. And really bad stuff. And some of my ideas are strange or unworkable or just plain don't make sense. Since Mike and I talk just about every week, and get around to discussing most of our story ideas and works-in-progress, he's heard the chaff as well as the good ones. And yet he's never discouraging, never critical. When I get off the phone from one of our conversations, I'm always ready to dive back in.
Confidence is a funny, delicate beast. It takes huge amounts of nurturing, and yet the smallest setback can crush it. I wish for everyone at least one friend like Mike, someone who's there for you both for the good times and the crummy ones, who never gives up on you even if it appears that the rest of the world has.
And P.S., Mike is cooking up a thriller that will blow your socks right freaking *off*....get back to the keyboard, MW, if you are reading this!!!!!