conference angst

I'm working on a conference proposal this week, and am being assailed by the demons of Doubt and Insecurity. Relevant thought attacks include the following:
  • I used to get accepted to conferences fairly frequently while I was still a graduate student, but less often in recent years. There are at least two possible explanations for this: I used to be smarter and/or my work was more interesting; I used to have the letterhead of Prestigious Unversity and now I write from Large Urban which is about 122 places below PU in the imaginary rank ladder everyone carries around in their head.
  • during the last year or two up to tenure I didn't really try to circulate much, since I was focusing on publishing. But now I am woefully out of practice.
  • the less you circulate, the less people know your name, and then the fewer conferences you get accepted to.
  • I am now firmly located on the margin of my field in terms of geography and prestige, and possibly also in terms of what I find interesting. The margin doesn't run conferences.
  • this conference is run by muckity-mucks who mostly invite their friends and I have no earthly chance of getting in. (But I've looked at programs from years past and see people who I know aren't so Brilliant or Fascinating.)
  • I should have written this proposal two months ago. Except I didn't have any brilliant ideas then, either.
  • I'm sick of writing about old stuff, but my new projects aren't far enough long to do much with yet either.
  • Getting into such a conference would be inspiring and energizing, but I feel like the gates are pretty much shut against me. Which is even more draining.