“I’ve been thrown in the deep end. Of a deep ocean. In a tidal wave. …
Since the release of Tessa, I have sought to broaden my writer’s presence. I have joined writer’s pages and groups, I have subscribed to other author’s pages. I started a blog and revived another one, and this robin bird finally decided to tweet.” [blog post “Drowning” 041114]
When I wrote Tessa I didn’t know for Author page – Facebook or Amazon – hadn’t even heard of Goodreads, avoided Twitter, and wasn’t blogging at all, at all. I wrote. That was it. Only AFTER she was released into the wild did I plug myself into the unique community of writers. A year ago, I was “ … learning to swim. And I think my feet are touching some sand in the murky waters, and I’m starting to wade through this media panoply.” [blog post “Drowning” 041114]
That was media. The other, and perhaps more enriching, branch of this tree I’ve climbed, is writer’s groups [and yes, I’ve attended] and conferences. And this is the more troublesome branch for me, because… it involves money. [‘nother story, ‘nother blog post, ‘nother time – think testimony] Money: I haven’t had it. Not to spare, barely enough to meet living expenses. Ergo, definitely not there to pay for a conference, let alone travel to and from, or accommodations whilst there. I longed to go, to attend, to rub shoulders with the who’s who of writing. I viewed pics posted on Facebook wistfully, hoping – praying – for my turn.
MY TURN CAME!! Weekend with The Writers [WWTW] was right here in Greenville, SC!!! I could walk it I had to…. [so glad I didn’t have to]
Let me take a moment and share how this came about – and the utter and incomparable value of networking. I was part of a thread in one of my writer groups, talking about memes. I do a decent meme, and promised to create a meme tutorial on my process. [haven’t forgotten that, ya’ll!!] One of the participants and I were later having a private IM conversation about it, and she asked me where I live. Because she was coming to a conference in Greenville, SC. That was the first I heard of it! I clicked on the link, Father God made a way for me to pay for it, my new friend offered to let me room with her, AND they picked me up. [oh yeah, I’m not driving right now – long story, also money related… ] And I only heard of the conference on 25 February – THREE WEEKS before the conference!! I shared with a friend how it all came together, and me watching it happen; she said, “Favor looks good on you.” To which I replied, “It feels kinda good too.”
So I got there, and it was amazing. I was at a conference!!! On the one hand, it felt as natural as if I did this every day. On the other hand, I felt like a five-year-old at Disney for the first time. [I kinda was!!]
Headlining our event were Kristen Heitzmann, DiAnn Mills, Edie Melson, and Lynette Eason, all names I’d seen and at least read blog posts. Only one, Kristen, had I heard of before I dove into my own writing career, having read Freefall, a few years ago, declaring her to be one of my new favorite authors. All of them personable and approachable, willing to interact – not sure what I expected, not divas with body guards, I’m sure! I felt as an associate, if at entry level, with their stellar multi-published careers. Quite heady for this former invisiblet!!
Gotta give a SHOUT OUT to the WWTW staff, who were amazing, catering to the needs of each of us in the room – even providing chocolate for us at the mid-afternoon doze-off on Saturday – and making us all feel welcome.
My take-aways from the event – and I benefitted from each one:
- DiAnn Mills and Characterization [possibly my weakest area] – let’s see, she covered a good gamut – body language, color symbolism, sensory perception. The stand-out statement for me, “Transfer my emotion to my character point of view.” [altho, I think my tendency is more that I pick up the emotion of my characters.]
- Kristen Heitzmann and Writing a Compelling Story – “A compelling story compels me to write it.” There’s more but I don’t want to give the whole conference away for future attendees!! *wink wink And yes, when I’m writing, I’m compelled to do so.
- Lynette Eason and Queries and Proposals – For me, more of a review. Bottom line, be professional about it.
- Edie Melson and Social Media – Hot topic for this writer! Remember the “Drowning” references above? Edie also covered a good gamut in her topic, and made me feel good that I’m doing the right things, media-wise. Mostly. I need to up my “presence” on Twitter, with #hashtags [yeeps! they’re missing from this post!!] and some great suggestions for tweeting on the regular.
And the biggest take-away: no two authors’ path is identical. Every article written, every conference workshop, offers something of value; and every author gleans from this tidal wave of information the splashes and puddles that best fit his or her career. I was very happy to hear a consensus that if you are an edit-as-you go writer, which I am, then OWN IT. Yes, thank you.
I take that back. The best take-away from this conference are the friends and connections I made. Now if I could just get my pics to upload from my phone…..
#WeekendwithTheWriters, #writersconference, #kristenheitzmann, lynetteeason, ediemelson, diannmills, #FORWARD