Monday, August 3, 2015

Writer's Digest Conference 2015

You are not alone.

Writing can be a solitary life. Sometimes loneliness creeps up on us while we are staring at a lined page or index cards or a computer screen with only our characters to interact with. Fun and creative...but lonely sometimes.

You are not alone.

This is one of the recurring themes I heard throughout my first Writer's Digest Conference. And I experienced it firsthand. Workshop teachers all showed we have the same highs and lows as writers. So many times we laughed as a commonality was pointed out, such as: 
"First. Drafts. Suck."

 But best of all, I made so many new writer friends. In just a short space of time we inspired, encouraged, laughed, and shared the stories of our characters and our lives with each other. We were so immediately comfortable because deep down we all knew each other, as only writers can.
Introverts unite! At the Writer's Digest Conference! 
Absolutely priceless.

By the way, how many writers does it take to pay a bar bill? 
Three. (I was one of them.) It was hilariously pathetic. Obviously Math is not our thing.
(Have to give credit to author Bernardo Montes De Oca for that line...he said it as he was watching us three fumble around with cash and calculator and credit cards.)

I've been tweeting out some #WDC15 Wisdom I gathered (Lesson #1: it's less stressful to ask for separate bar tabs to begin with), and here is some more:

  • Honor your reality. Life is part of your reality. You can't neglect a job or forget to feed the kids to write. But writing is your reality too. Figure out how to make it all co-exist, or...
  • You will get cranky if you don't write. Writing makes writers better people. So does coffee. I think we drained the hotel coffee supplies. I still can't believe I missed those cakes on Sunday. Where the heck were they?
  • Writing is hard. (Seriously, I know...but hearing EVERYONE say it made me feel better.)
  • Resistance (like Writer's Block, or the sudden urge to scour your kitchen) exists for a reason. It means that what we are doing is important or meaningful.
  • The craft of writing and the business of writing...learn both. Fear neither. (Jonathan Mayberry's Opening Keynote)
  • Sometimes the story knows more than you do....Writing is emotionally autobiographical - in the writing of it you are feeling it. ( Jacqueline Woodson's Central Keynote)
  • Whether it's creating a writing schedule or a story outline, don't feel you have to follow one way or someone else's way: experiment to find what is right for YOU.
There was just a plethora of excellent information and inspiration in all these workshops. 
My favorites were:
  • DIY MFA and Creating a Stronger Outline for a Stronger Story with Gabriela Pereira (who was lovely and funny and sincere...she almost brought me to tears at one point.)
  • Growing Your Iceberg: Creating a Seconday Story That Seems Ancient with Brooklyn fantasy author N.K. Jemisin
  • Revising a Novel: Step Away from the Blue Pencil with Hallie Ephron

And of course Chuck Sambuchino's Pitch Perfect session gave me the necessary tools (and the confidence) to talk to literary agents at the Pitch Slam!
I highly suggest looking into these workshops - many of them are online as webinars.

Overall, the Writer's Digest Conference was a game-changer for my career as an author. It inspired and energized me as well as introduced me to wonderful fellow writers! 
Total magic, and totally worth it!

Did you attend the Writer's Digest Conference this year? 
I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

All images are from Pinterest. If an image is yours and you do not want it used in this post, please contact me. Thanks!

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