Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Importance of Writer Conferences

I had the most incredible week.

Seriously, ask anyone who was there. I. Was. Flying.  It might have had something to do with attending my first conference. Or meeting all my online friends. Or all the awesome workshops I attended. Or not having to cook for myself. Or make my own bed. Or maybe it was getting so much help on my pitch and query. Or having people squeal with me when my pitch went well. REALLY well. :)

I had planned to make the most of this conference. And looking back on it all, I'm pretty sure I did.

  • Query and critique camp. 
I was preparing to pitch my book at this conference and knew I could use all the help I could get. And man did I ever get it.  Getting with other writers is so essential. I learned so much from them and received so much encouragement.  Our presenter was Lisa Mangum, and what an awesome lady. Can I just tell you? All sorts of awesomeness rolled into one.  And my night was made even more exiting when Brandon Mull, author of the Fablehaven series, walked into the room. People, I literally squealed.

From author sighting to a picture together.
My kids were ecstatic. Okay, so was it. :)
Yes, there were witnesses and yes they got a kick out of my display. This guy is one of my children's favorite authors and I won big points with them by getting to meet him in person. :) He is SUCH a cool guy. And what a great laugh. Seriously.

  • WINNING A BOOK! If you follow me on Facebook you saw all my pictures. They were not only part of making memories but of a scavenger hunt. I like winning things. Just so you know. :) Some of the pictures I've reposted here. And some I've spared you. :)

  • Free M&M's at the front desk. This is epic. Just epic. What is a writer's conference without chocolate!

  • Meeting your heroes.
    • Sarah Eden's books are not only fantastic, but they played a major role in my staying sane during my difficult pregnancy with the twins and then subsequently their loss. Her stories brought laughter into my laugh and hope to a person who was struggling to hold on to every bit she could.  Meeting Sarah in person was a dream and what an awesome gal! She was just as wonderful as her writings and her classes had me in stitches. I am forever changed for knowing her.

My first award!!!

  • I WON AN AWARD!!!  Conferences are great opportunities to enter contests and let your work be seen and judged. I placed 2nd in the Young Adult category for the Beginning of Book Contest. What an honor! And yes, I was shaking for a loooooong time afterwards. Can you blame me? It's cool!!!

    Stacy inspires me. So many wonderful friends here!

  • Friends who inspire me. 
I have met so many incredible people on social media, but there is nothing so amazing as meeting them in person and experiencing their energy and friendship. No comparison. Trust me. I MISS YOU ALL ALREADY!!
My roomie Stephanie Abney!! What a kindred spirit!!!

Critique buddy Wendy Jorgensen and Me!!!

    Kari is such a dear friend. She has such a happy smile!

    • Galas

    There is something awesome about dressing up and becoming characters in books. You can do it at home, but I'm sorry, it's just not the same. 
    Ms. Havisham through the ages. 

    • Workshops
    I could write an entire blogpost on everything that I learned at the conference, but it's better to just say, "GO TO ONE!" Experience the energy of the speakers. Ask questions on how to become a better writer,  or how to best "Harness the crazy," as Brandon explained.

    Sarah Eden getting ready to work her "magic."

    That's us. Crazy. We spend our time day dreaming and making up stories to help others escape, give them hope, laugh, cry, or to share personal experiences we think will help someone. Besides ourselves.  I need to write. It's a need, not just a want. And after this first experience, a writer's conference has gone from a want to a need.

    Happy Conferencing!!!