Friend's surgery went very well yesterday, though it was a loooonnngggg day of waiting. She's resting comfortably now, watching the Master & Commander DVD, as any reasonably sane person would do.
So, SF Writers Conference. As I said in my personal LJ, your first writer's conference is scary (especially if you go on your own): agents, editors, so much to learn about the craft and the process. [East of Eden, 2005]
Your second writer's conference is great: you feel energized, knowledgeable, filled with pure possibility and not a little hubris. [SF Writers Conference, 2006]
Your third writer's conference is all about disillusionment: you see the same attendees, the same agents that rejected you last year, and who will do so again this year, doing the same schpiel about how you'll never get published, "but keep trying!" [SF Writers Conference, 2007]
I don't know what happened at this conference. By the time I was into my second session on Friday, I can't tell you how awful I felt. Everyone felt desperate, clutching, grasping. The sessions were snippets of harsh reality swathed in the gossamer of "but you could be the one to win the lottery!" Every agent and editor repeated over and over - your book could be the best book in the world, but if I don't "connect" with it then it won't get published. Agents give your MS 1-5 pages to see if they like it. After you've polished the hell out of it with your agent - if you get that lucky - and you're lucky enough to have an editor ask for the MS, they'll give it 1 page. Some infamous editors give it one sentence.
And it really hit me: being a goal-oriented overachiever, I turned the process of pitching my novels into an obsession and I completely lost the whole point: the joy of creating. As one of the presenters said (and he seemed to be the only one that made sense to me) - writing is a journey of personal discovery and development. Getting published is just gravy after that. My priorities got completely skewed - I started writing because it was an outlet for the creative energy building up in me, and I found that I loved it. Writing helps center me. But then I got obsessed with getting published.
So, all this long rambly post to say: SFWC 2007 was good for what it was, but not good for where I need to be in terms of being a creative person. I've taken a big step back so I can get recentered and focused on what really matters, and that's writing, and writing for me.
Jeez, aren't you glad you asked, LK? :)