It has been a little over a week since DFWcon ended and I’m already feeling the itch to attend another conference. Maybe it’s because of the high of meeting so many other writers and working in a writing-only space for a couple of days, or maybe it is being in a place where I feel like every ounce of my time is being put to good use. I feel like I waste so much time at home and try to dedicate as much of it to writing as I possibly can, but obviously real life gets in the way and there is only so much that I can do.
So is it crazy I’m considering attending yet another writing conference in the same calendar year?
A friend of mine recently made me aware of the Writer’s Digest NYC Conference in August. Not only do more than fifty agents attend, but this is a three-day conference, including a few events on Thursday night! But there are some drawbacks: the Pitch sessions aren’t included and require an additional purchase (and you only get 90 seconds!) and the total cost of the show is at least double of DFWcon, before I even add in airline cost.
From what I’ve been reading online this is the conference to attend. 50 agents. Untold opportunity. Writers from all around the world. Classes by some of the best names in the business. So I guess the real question is: How much do I want it?
Whew! What a weekend. I haven’t worked that hard at meeting people in years, and it felt good to be under the gun a bit.
Before I started my writing career, I’d been to manyaconvention. But these weren’t “craft” conventions per se, they were more of fan conventions, even the one I organized myself. And while those were a chance to relax, enjoy some downtime with people I hadn’t seen in a while and maybe buy something, this past weekend at DFWCon was completely different.
And not a bad different.
But make no mistake. While I had a great time meeting people and attending classes, at DFWCon I had goals. Goals, I am happy to report, that I accomplished. But as a self-described introvert (as many of us writers are) it takes a certain amount of self control to leave my comfort zone for a few days and start interacting with people regularly. Because I own my own business I don’t have co-workers. Because I work from home I don’t interact with many people daily. And because I covet my downtime I don’t socialize much. So pulling myself out of that head-space for a weekend was difficult. It was work.
For my first honest-to-god writer’s convention I had three goals: 1) Meet as many new people as possible, 2) pitch my novels to at least three agents, 3) interact and learn. While only goal number 2 was clearly defined, I feel like I was able to do all of this and more this weekend. I met somewonderfulpeople (it helped that I’d formed a bit of a twitter clique beforehand), and the mixer on Friday made a big difference as well. I think if I had gone in blind on Saturday morning I would have been a lot more reserved. Pitching to three agents was more of a logistical thing, and I was able to squeeze in the very last spot for one of those said agents, so talk about cutting it close.
And finally number three, learn, learn, learn. I’d heard that during conventions like this most of the “action” happens at the bars, and I even had a colleague who said he was staying at the bar the entire time. But I still consider myself a newbie and I knew I needed to attend as many classes and workshops as possible. I am so glad I did. I almost feel like I should have attended this conference before I even began writing, because it really opened my eyes. However I managed to be a participant in one of the Read & Critique Workshop and the response to my piece was overwhelmingly positive. At least I know I’m not completely off-track.
I would like to give a special shout out to two classes: Jenny Martin’s Digging Deeper, and Amanda Arista’s Creating Strong Heroines and Stronger Villains in Your Women’s Fiction. These two classes have completely changed my perspective on writing, and I look forward to applying what I’ve learned in my next novel (currently in the outline phase).
To say the convention was a success for me would be a complete understatement. While none of the Agents ran up excitedly and pleaded to represent me, I feel like the experience and friends I gained make the entire experience priceless. I can’t wait until next year.
(Protip: Writers! Get on Twitter, it really makes a difference!)
The Ninth Annual Dallas Fort Worth Writers Convention starts in a few days and I’m getting excited. It’s my first big convention that doesn’t have to do with small plastic robots. To say I’m in a flurry is a bit of an understatement. I am preparing two different manuscripts to pitch, (as my father always said: Be Prepared) and I am also preparing for a Read and Critique workshop. Finally I’ve decided I need to throw my query into the Gong Show pile if for no other reason than to see what happens.
Two months ago I didn’t even know about this convention and now it has become the center of my world for the next week and a half. Fortunately some of the great people over at Charlotte Writers Group have had some good experiences with the ‘con, so I’m hoping this becomes more than a single trip. Who knows, maybe by next year I’ll have my third manuscript done.