In the last few years I've realized that I have focused on meeting writers online, and I haven't spent much time meeting writers in my every day "real" life. I know a handful of teen writers thanks to my experiences of teaching at our homeschool co-op, but I was the teacher . . .so I didn't feel like I could completely "let my hair down" and just share my writing too.
Encouraged by posts about awesome writing groups and conference experiences, I spent a few minutes in a quick search online for writers' groups in my area.I came across the "Writing and Publishing in the Harbor" Writers Conference hosted by my local library branch for free.
The morning I went I felt nervous. Was I prepared? Should I bring some of my writing with me? What clothes should I wear?
In a last minute decision for casual comfort, rebellion, and with some acknowledgement that most Washingtonians are casual too, I wore jeans, a sleeveless running shirt, a windbreaker nike jacket, and my keens (sporty sandal for water activities). I didn't bring a sample of my writing, and I didn't bring my laptop, just a few notebooks and a handful of pens.
I wasn't really dressed to impress, but I had decided to lay low and just check things out.
When I got there, it seemed that most of the other writers felt similarly about fashion choices, except for a few of the presenters, and a small handful of people who chose slacks and nice shirts. Whew! First obstacle down. I didn't stand out. (yes, there are stories behind that last statement - someday I'll tell them)
Hosted by a dozen local authors, the owner of the local bookstore who supports local authors, a professional editor/librarian and the library, it turned out to be an interesting and educational event. Most of the authors presenting were published through small presses, and one author/editor there owns and operates a local small press. A YA history mystery writer represented self-publishing, and another YA author represented the traditional publishing side of the market. There were two presentations, and several breakout sessions, plus time during lunch to just meet and greet other authors and presenters.
I met a wonderful lady who is writing her memoirs, a teen who kept his writing close to his vest (he never said what he wrote), a friend from a local community theatre group that I didn't know was a writer (we seriously need to talk more), and a few other ladies who write fantasy and science fiction. I felt like I had struck it rich . . .it was so good to talk to other writers like me, live, in person, who are writing and striving for publication.
I didn't come out of the conference with a ready-to-go writing group, and I didn't come out of it with a book contract.
I did come out of it with a renewed sense of purpose, accomplishment, and encouragement.
I can finish my novel, and write the next one, and the next. I think I can even find a local writers' group, or start one, if I just stick with it.
As for publishing, I am beginning to think that my book is more suited for the e-book and p.o.d. market. Well, scratch that. I've been thinking that might be the case for a while now, and some of the statements made at this conference confirmed it for me.
So have you been to any writers' conferences lately?
Are you part of a writing group?
BTW, I love all my online writing blogging friends very much, and you have all helped me in my writing journey immensely!!! I just felt a need to get out and meet some writers face to face.
100 Days of Revision, Day 35
Had a few slow days over the weekend, a little frustrated by a "slow" chapter that I can't seem to make more lively, but I'm moving forward today with a few marks left on those pages for later.