Turns out, nothing is random.
Instead of going to Hawaii, I married my high school sweetheart. And rather than go to New York, I welcomed my stepdaughter into our home. Both life altering decisions created a tight financial situation, and an unbalance on the emotional scale. I wasn't ready - not professionally or mentally - to attend either conference.
While I understand I let some people down by not going, I don't regret a single decision.
I connected with a local critique group that has now provided me with the stability I need to be accountable for writing. Each week I am challenged to write better, to practice the craft and produce pages. And in the process, I've made great friends and read some amazing fiction. I met this group when I should have been in Hawaii.
My stepdaughter made the decision to live with my husband and I this year. She made that decision when I should have been in New York.
I've made many friends in Hawaii and New York, and not seeing them this year saddened me. But Facebook has a way of easing the pain. Not only have I added new like-minded people to my circle of Facebook friends, I've reconnected with dozens of writers with whom I'd lost touch. How inspiring is that?
It's been a fight to keep my muse out of depression - decisions often come with unforeseen consequences - but now my muse has a new set of demands. A healthy, happy me, drawing support from my loyal (and new) circle of family and friends.
Oh, and chocolate. But that's tomorrow's post. This week's muse avatar is so fine, you'll want to steal him.