Here it is, Monday morning already and the Southern California Writers’ Conference is over, but the sweet touch of all things writerly lingers upon the mind and soul.
There is nothing quite like being immersed in a world where everyone around you Understands. They understand the loneliness of being a writer, the solitary pursuit of something so unique and elusive, that you are the only one that can create it. They understand that you are a writer even if you aren’t published. They understand that sometimes it’s better for you to hang out in the bar instead of going to a late night read and critique.
That last one I think they understand a little too much. Doesn’t matter. In the writer world, that’s called Networking and it’s a good thing.
Okay, true confession time. When SCWC posted on Facebook that Scott would be there, the wall lit up with, “OMG! Can’t Wait! Scott is a God!” and I remember thinking, “Who?”
So there we are sitting together in the bar, just talking about writer stuff when I decided to ask him, why in fact, he was such a big deal. It was one of those magical moments where the planets align and you just know that no topic is taboo. That, and he was just such a regular guy I wasn’t intimidated by him at all.
His answer, which was convoluted, somehow made sense to my muddled brain. Back in 2005, before his book was published, Scott came up with the fabulous idea to podcast his book in a 24 week serial. Much like they did in the 50’s on the radio. He would release a short snippet each week and people had to wait until the following week to find out what happened. By the time his book was published, he had a fan base ready to buy. Brilliant!
Scott’s a cool guy. He hung out with us and talked all night about publishing trends and just everyday stuff, like walking his dog.
Besides hanging out in the bar, I met with Gordon Warnock, an agent with the Andrea Hurst Agency. Now, Gordon’s a super great guy, but he doesn’t actually handle fantasy. Bummer! There was a miscommunication about that and while I was super sad that I wasn’t going to get a contract for six figures from Gordon, what I got was worth almost as much.
Gordon not only read my submission (15 pages), he made extensive notes and gave them to me. What?!? I’ve always heard that an agent will tell you whether or not you’re a good fit for them and either take you on or not, but they don’t really critique the work.
Thank you, Gordon Warnock!
Not only did he give me amazing feedback, he let me stay and talk to him when the time slot after me was free. A half an hour with an agent one-on-one is priceless. Well butter my buns and call me a biscuit!
One of the coolest moments at the conference happened just before the banquet Saturday night. I was chatting with some friends and this handsome man says, ‘Hey, I follow you on Twitter. I’m @AraTHEwriter.’ Not only was it nice to meet a fellow writer/Twitterer, but to be recognized outside of social media was kinda sweet. Thank you, Kristen Lamb for convincing me to use my real name out there in social media land.
Newport Beach is smaller and more intimate than the San Diego Conference, but that doesn’t mean you get less from it. I left SCWC LA9 with a confirmed editor to work on my novel, extensive notes on how to improve my craft, and some ideas for writing that I never would have thought of on my own. Like writing for anthologies. What, me write a short story? Sure!
Writing is only part of the reason I go to the conferences. There is nothing like meeting other writers, established or super new, and getting to talk about what we do without any judgements or funny looks. At the conference when you say, ‘No, I’m not published’ no one thinks you’re a fraud, they think ‘Not yet’.
In just three days I made friendships that will last the rest of my life. That’s what makes these conferences so special for me. Do I wish I walked away with a six-figure book contract? Yep. Is the fact I didn’t going to stop me from reaching my dream? Not a bit.
I’m more committed now than ever in my goals and if you’ll excuse me, I have a work in progress that needs to be whipped into shape.
Thanks for sharing this journey with me. It’s a bit terrifying to put yourself out there and then realize you still have more work to do to be fabulous.
What do you do to keep up the fabulocity in your life? Are there conferences or events you go to so that you can connect with like-minded people?