We writers can learn from everyone. Observation sluts all, we scavenge and steal from the world around us. For the few years, I’ve been watching other ink-stained wretches and trying to study what seems to work and what doesn’t.
For most, it all comes down to commitment.
It’s the strength to strap our butts in chairs even when we want to skip out into mudlucious spring days. It’s the understanding that for professionals, writing is more than putting words on paper; it’s a way of life.
I’ve decided to actively nourish and reinforce these truths.
Which brings me to today.
While you read this blog, I’ll be on my way back from the Novelists, Inc. conference in New York. Novelists, Inc is a small organization of writers who’ve published at least two novels; many members have published far more. I joined a little more than a year ago when I was feeling the need for mentors but didn’t know where to find them.
You see, once you’re no longer a beginner, you’re adrift in the same ocean as every other writer . . . except the superstars. It’s difficult to find people who even believe you need to be taken under their wing. It also becomes more challenging to know what questions to ask because eveyone is mouthing variations on a theme . . .
Answers abound, but there’s no generic prescription that yields the same results for everyone.
The more you learn, the less you know.
I feel like I’m more of a babe in the woods than I was upon first publication for years ago. There’s so more to learn, to explore.
Novelists, Inc is a place to do it — for me. While most members are romance writers, the experience they offer is a kind of informal school for those of us novelists who’ve gotten well onto the ladder but can’t yet see the next level.
I’ve got to tell you, I’m excited. For three full days and late nights, I’ll hang out with these people. I’ll listen and watch. There’s an astounding list (this one is partial) of editors and agents coming to this thing and I bet they’ll have plenty to say as well.
This is the first time in more than five years that I’m attending an event that has to do with writing where I’m NOT in promotion mode (though I am working on the elevator pitch just in case someone asks). This time, I’m focused on craft and on the life of a working writer.
My question for today is this:
What conference, workshop or class can you recommend that:
* took you to a glorious new level in your work (non writers, please comment here, too)
* inspired you
* kicked you in the butt
* gave you the courage to continue, change, explore, expand?
If you want to include urls, that’d be great too. I’ll try to respond on the road or when I get home.