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Friday, January 14, 2011

A Guilty Pleasure, A Professional Must

Last year was the first time I attended a writing conference, and I’ve since vowed to attend at least one a year. It was a revelation for me. The nervous energy coursing through my body (from the second I picked up my registration badge to the moment I sat in a chair opposite an agent to make my first pitch) was delicious.
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For a stay-at-home-mom, I’m sure my feelings were intensified by the simple act of interacting with fellow adults, but there was something more. I was surrounded by people who loved to read, loved to write, and were willing to dedicate a weekend to studying their craft and comparing notes. Plus, I got to talk to super agents Kristin Nelson (Nelson Literary) and Laura Rennert (Andrea Brown Literary) during the cocktail hours!

Being somewhat new to writing (at least on the novel level), somewhat shy, and somewhat eager to get out of the house without worrying about changing a diaper, I was blown away by:
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A) How stimulated I was.
B) How much I came out of my shy-shell, mainly due to the friendly nature of everyone present.
C) How much I learned, that would NEVER have been learned through internet research or reading agent interviews.
D) How much fun I had.
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Oh, and never underestimate the pleasure of going to a session outside your genre. I had an absolute blast at a session called, “The Pointy Thing Goes in the Other Guy" (medieval/historical weaponry) and even got to hold an authentic Japanese Katana. My 15-year-old stepdaughter, a lover of the novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Japanese swords are featured in the book) was so jealous.
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On the top right are a few links that can get you started in your conference search. I can’t say enough about the benefits of attending a writing conference, and encourage you to make a commitment to a 2011 guilty pleasure/professional must of your own :)
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Oh, and see my blogging friend Donea Lee’s post on the Pikes Peak Writing Conference HERE.
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REMINDERS:
**Don't forget about the Secret Agent contest on Miss Snark's First Victim. Submissions are Monday, January 17!
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**Mark your calendars for Monday, January 24. WriteOnCon is hosting an awesome Live Chat with Pippin Properties (they represent Kate DiCamillo, among many other incredible authors) at 5:00 EST. Click HERE for details.
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Have a wonderful weekend :)

18 comments:

  1. sounds like an awesome opportunity! thanks for the info!

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  2. I really want to go to a conference but the timing is always wrong or I just can't decide! I'm going to look up this one and see if it suits me. Thanks for this post!

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  3. I am trying to decide WHICH conference to go to this year. So many choices! I went to a writer's retreat last year instead of a conference, which I really enjoyed, but I'm ready for the real thing again this year. Going to check out that Pike's Peak link...

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  4. Hi Jess! Thanks for the shout out ~ :) And I love that you put some great conference links at the top of your website. I agree, if I can make it to atleast one a year - that would be fabulous. I've had a few people comment that they'd attended the Pike's Peak conf. in the past and all had nothing but good things to say. So, of course, I'm even more psyched about it! But, wouldn't it be fun to go to some of the ones they advertise is Italy? *dreams*

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  5. I love conferences, I skipped going to one last year in lieu of a family vacation. They really do motivate you to want to write!

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  6. A little birdie told me the WB is having an IRL workshop this year... :)

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  7. I'm committed to attending at least one (large) conference this year, but I want to have my novel 100% before I do so I can pitch it. That means I'll have to wait until at least June before I start making plans. :)

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  8. I love writers' conferences for all the reasons you've listed--I'm thankful to say that I've been to several, and aim for more. The energy, motivation, and new friends-feelings stay with you a long time...

    New follower here. Came over from Debbie's Writing While the Rice Boils. Glad to meet you!

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  9. I realllly do want to go to one -- there aren't that many opportunities here in Australia, so I'm hoping to time one of my trips to the US to coincide with a conference. I'd love to hear more about what you got out of it, what the sessions and pitches were like!

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  10. Oh, I'm going to head to your conference links right now! Great idea! Yes, I've been to two conferences, and after both, I was so energized about writing! For me, the new friends I made were the highlight. This post reminds me I haven't been to a conference in over a year, and I should start looking for one! I'm hoping my next one I will get to meet my agent for the first time!

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  11. Hi Jess! I've awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award. Here's the link to the award on my blog: http://www.hillsandcorkscrews.com/2011/01/blog-award.html

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  12. Pikes Peak sounds like a great thing! I did my research and it may be the "one"...

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  13. Oooh I LOVE conferences, and I am sooo jealous that you got to go to that awesome session! It sounds far too cool. I've pretty much stuck to SCBWI stuff (which I shout from the mountaintops that I love at every available moment) but I'd be open to others too!

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