From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Monday, April 28, 2014

W is for Writers Conference

Please forgive the radio silence the past couple days. My excuse is that I have been at the Las Vegas Writers Conference and I had no idea how absolutely exhausting conferences can be.

That's just one word to describe it. Honestly, it was a bit more of an emotional roller-coaster than I expected too. So many things happened, and I'm going to be going into more detail later and telling you all more specifically what I learned. But for today, I just wanted to give an overview and explain why I think conferences are one of the absolute best investments any writer can make.

So yeah, emotional roller coaster. I admit I was feeling a little overwhelmed and discouraged the first night. No specific reason, but I think a conference really opens your eyes to the industry and you realize how much you still have to learn. Basically I was feeling like a big n00b.

But I decided that's okay. I went back Friday morning rejuvenated and ready to go and I feel like what I learned through this conference is invaluable. I feel like this conference was for a me a really intensive crash course that hopefully taught me things and moved me up a few levels that I would definitely not have moved up otherwise. In other words, it helped me be less of a n00b. And I can't even describe how priceless that is.

For me personally there were three main areas that I feel like I was helped. I went to a couple incredible workshops on plotting that I really think are going to change my life. I also went to a Show Don't Tell workshop and even though that's something we've all heard and are all working on, I think it will also really help me on the sentence level. And last but not least, I had the chance to pitch to an agent and talk to a few others and even had my first page read aloud anonymously at a lunch panel where the agents raised their hand at the point they would stop reading, and all of those things helped me form ideas and make decisions about my specific pitching strategy that will also change my life and is in and of itself beyond worth the price of the conference.

Anyway, I'll leave it at that for now, but I'll be talking about specifics more in later posts.

Write on!!

Sarah Allen

P.S. For X day, here's a link to the wonderful comic, XKCD. Check it out. It's worth it :)

18 comments:

  1. Nothing like finding out you really don't know what you're doing!
    Having one's first page read would be nerve-racking.

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    1. It was definitely pretty nerve-racking, and as one of the agents described it, "a little brutal." But it was invaluable feedback, and only half of them raised their hands, so I came away happy :)

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  2. Can't wait for your next posts! I'm always up for learning more about writing.

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    1. Oh good :D Yeah, I'll be happy to pass along the wisdom of those smarter than me. I definitely recommend conferences!

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  3. I've never been to a writing conference, sounds like it would be fun (and a little intimidating).

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. Fun and intimidating is definitely right. Mostly very helpful and informative, and very recommended!

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  4. It must have been a humbling, yet exhilarating experience. So glad you learned so much.

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    1. Exactly! Humbling, exhilarating, and absolutely worth it.

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  5. I've been to several conferences. Loved each one. Always came home exhausted but uplifted.

    Hugs and chocolate!

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    1. Yes, uplifted and exhausted is exactly right :)

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  6. I haven't been to one in a while. So hard. Most are far away. Expensive, etc. etc. Though well worth it as you point out. Closest one to me is in Petoskey which is supposed to be exceptional. Last one I went to was in Columbus but they don't have it anymore.

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    1. Yes, they can definitely be far away and expensive. I was lucky enough to have this conference basically in my backyard, although it did take a nice chunk out of my wallet. But super, super worth it!

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  7. I go to the SCBWI conference in LA every year. It's an awesome "refueling" experience. I always learn so much it takes the rest of the year to process.

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    1. Oh yeah! I've heard of that one, I need to look in to it. I know exactly what you mean, I'm hoping I don't forget all the great stuff I learned :)

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  8. I've never been, but you make sound like something I should try. Who knows, maybe we'll meet someday. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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    1. That would be fantastic!! And yes, I definitely think everyone who wants to be a writer should go to a conference, if only to get some professional perspective on the industry. So worth it, if you have a chance to make it to one :)

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  9. Periodically I go to conferences, and the take away is always. I haven't been to one for a couple of years, because my husband and I travel a lot, and the ones I wanted to go to happened to be during our travel dates. But the insights one gleans are so helpful, and the inspiration level is high. I'm glad you got so much from the conference you went to.

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    1. I think just going to at least one conference at the beginning of a writing career can really just give you some invaluable professional perspective. I had some great ideas for my own writing personally but also it was great to see how the industry really works.

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