Today is Monday. I think.
School starts tomorrow. Huh?
We had a great time on vacation and have returned. I ran around like a crazy person setting normal life (or whatever life) back in order.
And now I will blog. Stay with me. I might not make sense.
Before vacationing in the GORGEOUS Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s UP… I went to The Midwest Writers Workshop in the fabulous Muncie, Indiana. And this is what I want to attempt to focus on.
I went to MWW last year. And my brain suffered severe overload. I panicked. I doubted my place in the world of writing. I now know to call it Imposter Syndrome. But… I continued to write, to put myself and my words out into the great universe.
What a difference a year can make.
Last year the agents made me want to run and hide. This year not so much. I spoke to a couple of them and did not spontaneously combust. I know! Last year I went hoping to learn the secret to querying, to standing out, to find the magic words to become what I dreamed… published. This year I went to learn what I could about marketing…
And to have SO MUCH FUN!
Last year I knew two people, who I met on Twitter. This year the list of people I knew was slightly bigger. Okay, lots bigger. To have people approach me and say, “I know you!” really confused me. People who were happy to meet me! People I was happy to meet! And the Universe did not implode. As far as I know.
My confidence in my writing has grown. The road to publication is twisty and weird and full of holes, but I fought my way through. Once the decision is made, once you know what you want and how you want to get there, the pressure releases. I’m not looking for an agent, so less stress. And maybe the whole signing with a publisher thing helped. Maybe.
Of course, my confidence still needs a bit of help. When the time came to announce good news of last year, did I offer up mine? Nope. Mistake? Probably. But one step at a time.
I talked to people. I sat at agent and editor panels and listened to questions and found that I had answers to them in my head, answers I was happy with. So maybe I know stuff now. Or at least think I do, which is just as good.
The conference lacked in a couple of areas. At the Path to Publishing panel, I was sorry to see no representation of self-pubbed authors or small presses. I did talk to someone about it, so we’ll see if anything happens. But these are legit paths that should be discussed, so new authors can see all options clearly and get help in finding the correct way to do them.
Overall, I enjoyed my time. Learning about…
Sex in YA
The difference between YA and MG
Tag lines and blurbs
How to handle being a debut author
The editing process (which I will get to drown in soon)
Janet Reid, the fabulous agent, is not a shark and is hilarious.
The main theme running through every session… Write. And when you do, stay true to yourself, to your characters, and to your story. Everything else is noise. Don’t let the world invade when self-doubt causes cracks in your vision. And write.
Mostly I hung out with my friend Rena. If you don’t know her on Twitter, go find her. She’s fabulous. I followed my soon-to-be famous friend around because… I am her minion.
We became the dynamic duo. Just being with her at the conference made life brilliantly shiny.
Though I will certainly fail and miss people, I want to shout out to my Twitter friends I met in real life. They exist!
Shelly (who I will see again because we live kinda close and I have her ms! MWAHAHAHA), Jessica (who has fabulous pink hair and told me how to pronounce her last name and I still can’t do it) Ashley (a firecracker), Erica (who made me business cards at the last minute like a boss and we are bonded through unicorns) Liz (who cracks everyone up), Summer (what a gem and rocked the Marauders Map dress), Jenny (roomie and fellow 2016er), Nicole (purple hair!), Julie (who we met last year, but she cut her hair so I didn’t recognize her), Gail (who grew up in the small town where I live now) Sarah (she has her eye on Rena O.O), Kate (who might think I’m crazy)
To all of you!
Anyway, this year I didn’t leave feeling like I had been hit by a train. I didn’t leave wondering how in the world I fit into this crazy writing world. I left with a smile and a bit more knowledge. I left thinking that maybe I have a chance at being one of these cool people.
Hanging out with those who do what you do, who speak your language, who suffer from the same frustrations, who have traveled through the same darkness, and who have found the same light can mean everything.
I love being surrounded by writers.
When writers unite magic happens.
Until next year!