Sunday, February 17, 2013

Conference Time!

The nice thing about spring is that we will soon be putting away the snow shovels and getting out our suitcases for--conferences!

I love conferences.

In high school English class all I cared about was creative writing. I never liked learning grammar, but now I’ll take furious notes in a workshop on how to use the comma. There are such a variety of topics to choose from it’s hard to know which to attend. I’ve taken workshops on everything from writing fight scenes, to improving time management, to dealing with the middle-of-the-story- slump, to self-promotion. 

I also enjoy attending agent and editor panels.  Publishing has changed and is changing so quickly that the variety of challenging questions asked of the audience can prompt some interesting discussions about the industry.

But mostly I love absorbing the energy generated by having so many writers in one place. Sharing  a couch in the hotel lobby,  or having a drink in the bar with other writers grounds me in who I am. Suddenly I am part of something. I’m not just sitting on my computer in a corner of the back porch, typing away, lost behind piles of books and research notes.

I am an author. We may have just met, but I can talk about writing with people who also hear voices in their heads, people who don’t think it’s weird to discuss ways to poison someone, or if a corset can be removed with one hand.

It’s like three days of spring at the end of a long gray winter. My writer battery has been recharged. My brain is already plotting out my next story and I go home revitalized and a bit more confident that I can do this.

Do you attend any conferences? What is your favorite part?

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He made her fall in love with him, then he took it all away.


Kathy Otten said...

Hi All,
So sorry, but it's the weekend. Time to cram 40hrs of work into three days. Today is my Friday, but it's a fourteen hour shift so I won't be home til midnight. Feel free to leave a comment and I'll be back. Have a great day! :)

Tina Donahue said...

I don't attend conferences as I find the costs prohibitive. I've also learned over the years that everyone has an opinion - and I do mean everyone. When I first started writing, I took a lot of those opinions as gospel. If someone said - "werewolf or shifter stories suck. I just read "ABC" by so-and-so and it was freaking awful. This proves shifter stories no longer sell." Then what do you know. "ABC" by so-and-so turned out to be a NYT bestseller even though the reviews were awful and many houses had turned it down - and guess what else - shifter stories were still hot. I think you have to write to be true to your vision. Not everyone is going to like it, but you will find like-minded readers. Trying to guess (and it is a guess) what the next big thing will be is like trying to win the lottery. Trying to please anyone except yourself (by writing what you consider to be a good story) is a gamble you'll most likely lose.

jean hart stewart said...

Can't go to conferences wither, but they sound like lots of fun. Hope all who do go have a great time.....

Mackenzie Crowne said...

I've never been to a conference, mostly because I never knew they existed. Now that I do, well, I'm too cheap to pay the hefty entrance fees and frankly, intimidated by the thought of throwing myself into an event I don't really understand. So, I'll be attending a local conference here in Phoenix this summer, but incognito as a reader. Who knows. Maybe next year I'll go all in.

Niecey Roy - Romance Author said...

I am excited to go to my first regional conference this year at RomCon. Should be lots of fun! I will probably have more in common with the readers than with authors, and will stand around staring all starry eyed at the authors I've read for years who I will finally get to meet. I will make such a dork of myself, I'm sure it will be hilarious :) But I'm so excited! wohoo!!! I'll be set up with my own little author table and hope someone stops by and sees me. So exciting!

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Tina, Jean, and MacKenzie
Just got home. Thanks for stopping by. I usually go to a conference every other year so I have two years to save up. Some conferences are more expensive than others and the Pennwriters conference I go to is for all writers from poets and memoir writers, to genre and literary writers. So the workshops are varied and there is a lot to offer in the way of craft, and less in what's hot. But every writer has different needs and not everyone likes conferences and that's good too. As long as you keep on writing and stay true to yourself.

Fiona McGier said...

I have kids still in college so I can't afford to go to any conferences. Nor can I spend the kind of time I'd like to on my writing. I try to squeeze in time whenever I can, but considering that I work multiple jobs, I'm glad I'm still getting new books published. I dream of being retired someday, with all the time I want to write...but student loans are forever, and even if you declare bankruptcy, you still need to pay them back. And if you die, your estate/relatives sill need to pay them back.

So no conference # in my future. Have fun whomever can go!