Writers’ conferences are awesome. Writers’ conferences are brutal. And while all conferences tend to toss a grueling schedule at you, it’s ones geared toward the writerly souls that leave you in an absolute puddle at the end. I think the reason is because we bring our ambitious aspirations with us when we attend. We’re there to learn, yes. We’re there to fraternize with other writerly souls, yes. But the biggie is that many of us are there because we have a dream of being published.
We flit around at these conferences for three or four days with that dream on the tips of our tongues and surface of our skin. It’s visible in our shiny eyes. It’s especially visible right before the agent and editor pitch sessions, when the waiting area resembles an American Idol audition (and afterward, when the waiting area still sort of resembles an American Idol audition, but less screaming and tears). And then, when the conference is over, you’d think you’d been at the Cabo Wabo Cantina drinking tequila for 72 hours (I have never actually been to the Cabo Wabo, but I always imagine that the patrons there must get exceptionally drunk).
This year’s Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association (PNWA) Summer Conference was my second (for last year’s more practical post on things I learned, click here). The presenters were tops, again, and the key note speakers both inspirational and wickedly funny. I pitched the same manuscript as last year (it wasn’t ready to send out to agents after last year’s… and it’s still not quite ready, but dang it, I will get it pretty and polished if it kills me) and received seven more requests for materials that I’ll add to my stash of business cards from 2012. And bonus of all bonuses, I was able to meet a long-time online friend from Idaho, Jeri Walker-Bickett, and her friend Carmen, live and in person (and then nod knowingly as I watched the gradual onset of their conference exhaustion).
Finally, I’ve got to mention one of the best things about these writers conferences: the camaraderie. There were even comments made from the podium on the generally astounding level of friendship and support that the attendees extend to one another as we all ride the publishing roller-coaster together. I think this is SO important, not just in writing, but in life. The universe is big enough for all of us, we will all find our way and it doesn’t need to be at the expense of another. It’s much more fun to help other people, to give of yourself at the same time that you seek your own success.
“If there is light in the soul,
there will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
there will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.”
Namaste, my friends. I still need to sleep off the rest of my conference DTs. Let me know how your week is going!