It's been several years since I went to my first writers conference (through the Alaska Writers Guild). At the time, I was dabbling through my fifth awful draft of my second attempt at a book. What I learned is that writing a book is a lot of work--- seriously guys! LOTS of work.
I remember so vividly- listening in on all these panels where people discussed publishing (both traditional and self-publishing), and watching as writers talked and networked. With an eager heart I took in everything I could. Craft discussions, editors talking about what we should avoid, people discussing what they were there to talk about- their books and all the work that goes into it.
At the end of the conference, I remember feeling scorched.
Turned out, writing a book wasn't as simple as sitting at a table of college students in your Creative Writing 101 and having them tell you that your short story was "Epic".
Writing, for me has been a journey. Since I started (and sometimes stopped and restarted as we have to do), I've gotten married, had three kids, made a move from Colorado to Alaska, bought a house, said goodbye to my grandmother, helped care for my ailing grandfather, enjoyed countless experiences that had nothing to do with writing, but I always, always come back.
At this particular conference a writer named Marc Cameron (he writes the Jericho Quinn books), attributed a commonality among writers- to get this story out of you. It really stuck with me, and I found myself thinking about what he said one night when I should have been writing.
For so many of us, it is a need-often a selfish one. To tell a story we have crafted, babied, and rewritten a few times. To be omniscient to our character's every move and help them find their path and voice.
So for the past few years, through all the mess of life that is having and caring for young children, I have written a book-and one that I'm proud of.
This year, I'm going a conference prepared. I've researched like I never knew I had to for a chance to talk with agents that I will very likely never encounter again. I've reached out to other writers, learning what type of books they are working on. Most of all, I think that having a book ready and waiting is the biggest difference. I'm going, having utilized everything I got from the last conference and more.
I'm ready for you PNWA.