So you still stop by here now and then, do you? Well, I'm glad. Because although I've been quite absent, I'm far from dead. And I will have you know that I've actually been writing, like a good writer should. However, I don't have much of value to say on that topic at the moment. Oh, well, there is this: I went to the Maryland Writers Association annual conference in Baltimore a couple weeks ago. It was a good day. I learned that it's fun to get together with other writers, but that in general, unless you're there for one of the specific reasons I'm about to list, there isn't a great reason to go to too many of these. The lectures, though always interesting, are generally the same. You'll get one on building an author platform, one on writing a query, one on pitching an agent and one on plotting or first drafts, etc. And those are always good to hear, and in fact, I very much enjoyed the two part lecture I attended by Kathryn Johnson on writing a first draft in eight weeks. Her main point, which I used to know intuitively, was that you have to actually write to get a draft written. I used to get up at 4:30 in the morning to do that. Then kids started school and schedules got all wonked up, and I started sleeping in. Which was nice, but not very productive. So I have been getting up at 5:30 lately (since the conference), and lo and behold...I have 20,000 words completed in the first draft of my new novel.
Beyond the lecture content, here are some great reasons to go to a writing conference:
- To bond with other writers and learn that you are, in fact, not alone
- To pitch a particular agent (if you've done your research and you're ready to pitch, face to face beats email query any day)
- To meet a particular speaker (who could be an agent, an author you admire or plan to stalk, or a publisher)
- To market your own recently published book (in the case of the MWA, they allow members to sell books at their conference)
There are other reasons, too... It's definitely fun to spend a whole day or weekend surrounded by others who don't think your dreams are silly or frivolous. But these things are expensive and usually entail a hotel room, so for me, there probably won't be more in the near future unless one of the four reasons listed above comes into play.
I'll do my best to drop in here on a more regular basis. Thanks for hanging around!