It all started with NanoWrimo in November 2011. (A challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month) I wrote 50,000 words in a month and the writing bug bit me. I stumbled upon a local writing group and conference online and the rest is history.
The Write Stuff Conference is coming quick. March 21 – 23 at the Days Hotel in Allentown. As I reflect on my experience last year I realize how far I’ve come in the past year.
Last year was my first writer’s conference and I jumped in with both feet full force and clueless. Everyone was super nice to me and never let on that I didn’t know what I was doing. Hell I didn’t even admit I didn’t know what I was doing until I came home and digested everything and started learning more.
I entered the Flash contest (poetry, fiction, or non-fiction 100 words or less) but didn’t win. I signed up for page cuts where you have someone read the first page of a finished manuscript and the synopsis and then a panel of speakers and authors from the conference critique them (all anonymous). I was super blessed and James Scott Bell was late getting there so he took mine and another persons to his room and made written comments on it! That was a special gift from God because I truly respect Mr. Bell’s books on writing.
I signed up for an agent appointment, but ended up giving my spot to an impatient woman in line who only came to the conference to pitch her book. I already had the agent I signed up with critique my work at page cuts so I gave the eager woman my spot and walked away grateful that I wasn’t putting that kind of pressure on myself. I was just there to learn as much as I could and enjoy the time with other writers.
I realized by the end of the conference how ill prepared I was, but I don’t regret my gusto at all. It taught me I wasn’t where I needed to be, but I had a better clue how to get there.
One very important thing I learned from Mindy Starns Clark in a conversation during a break: When in a critique group let others go first and listen to all the critique. When it comes your turn to read, zone in on the people who you agreed with when they critiqued others.
I’ve learned a lot since last year. I’ve read some writing books. Among my favorites are Stephen King’s, “On Writing” and all of James Scott Bell’s writing books.
Since last years conference my writing came in spits, spurts, and sputters until January when I committed to my month-long blogathon. In the midst of the blogathon I realized I’m in the process of finding my voice and purging necessary garbage. I enjoyed the blogathon so much I am continuing to blog every day for the sheer enjoyment and the practice.
So this year instead of signing up for page cuts (since I really don’t have a manuscript ready for that) I’ve signed up to be a volunteer for page cuts. I’ll read other’s work anonymously and time the critiques.
I may or may not sign up for an agent appointment. If I do it will just be to pitch some ideas I have in my head. I may sign up for the Flash contest. I have a couple of pieces I may be able to polish for that.
Overall I’m just looking forward to learning more and coming home to learn even more before next years conference. As I’ve told everyone I know – I don’t care if I never make a dime or get published I just love to write. But now I am published, here on this blog or you wouldn’t be reading it. So step one down.
Today I’m grateful for:
1. I’m enjoying my writing journey.
2. The Write Stuff Conference is so close to home.
3. I was able to go back to sleep for a couple of hours this morning after being up at 4:00 am.