The Biggest Thing I Took Away From the Writer’s Digest Conference (and It Has Nothing to Do With Sessions, Agents, or Networking)

Hi all,

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I returned this week from a jam-packed three-week trip to the USA, the main purpose of which was to attend the annual Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City http://www.writersdigestconference.com/, as well as conduct research in New York and Massachusetts for my next manuscript. Apologies for the lack of posts during this time, but my days were so full that my nights usually found me exhausted!

The conference was fantastic – I will cover the main points of the sessions I attended in later posts. I caught up with old friends, made many more new ones, and learned so much (why is it that the more you learn, the more you feel there is to learn?) Stay tuned for the posts.

The centerpiece of the conference, pitching manuscripts to agents, was the item that first drew my attention to this conference. And I’m very pleased to say that, out of the ten wonderful agents I pitched my YA manuscript to, all ten requested a submission. So my priority for the next couple of weeks will be submitting requested pages to these agents.

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HOWEVER, was this the biggest thing I took away from this conference?

While huge, better than I expected, and a massive boost to my see-sawing confidence as a novelist…no.

The biggest thing for me was the realization, or rather, the confirmation, that this writerly life is so hard to do without the complete and utter support of FAMILY. That while the act of writing can be a solitary pursuit, traveling for research and to pursue publication is far easier if it is not.

For without the support and encouragement of my husband and children, I could not have made this 10,000 mile/16,000 kilometer trip from Australia (and other trips I have previously undertaken for research and learning).

For without my husband and children taking up the reins of all the tasks I normally tackle back home, I could not pursue my passion to write with the same level of intensity and detail.

For their efforts and understanding, I am forever grateful.

Now, on to the task of those agent submissions…

Until next time, happy writing,

Rebecca

Start Spreading the News, I’m Leaving Real Soon…

Hi all,

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In a few days, I leave my beautiful sun-burnt country and fly to the Big Apple for a trip nine months in the making. As well as seeing the sights and indulging in a much-loved pastime (retail therapy), I will also be popping up to Boston for a few nights to research my next book and to meet with an editor. While all of this is vitally important, the main focus of my trip is to attend the Writers Digest Conference in New York City, where I will pitch my YA manuscript to agents.

The story I have written has been more than five years in the making, in between writing magazine articles and short stories, and stints working in publishing and government. After countless drafts, input from beta readers and an editor, and nudging from my husband and children with words like, “You can do this. You should do this”, I am about to, well, do this.

Preparing to “Do this” has resulted in a lot of agonizing over the wording of queries, synopses, and 90-second pitches. This, in turn, has led to my eyes rolling to the heavens while I silently scream, “What am I doing?” on more than one occasion. There’s nothing left of my nails and the bags under my eyes have become a permanent feature. I’ve just had a visit to the hairdresser to cover the increasing strands of gray, and don’t get me started on the fear of failure raising its ugly head during the early hours of the morning…

But then I joined the conference Facebook group and discovered there are LOADS of fellow attendees feeling the same way. Nervous. Excited. Overwhelmed. Excited. Scared. And did I say, excited? And I realized that we are all in the same boat, all following our dreams off the proverbial cliff to see if they (and we) have wings. All heading to NYC with a pitch in our heads – mine’s starting to sound like a broken record. All ready to soak up the wealth of information and networking opportunities to be discovered during and between three days of jam-packed sessions. And all ready to meet new people in this sometimes infuriating but always wonderful world of writing.

We share the same insecurities and the same passion, no matter what genre we write. When we do finally all meet in person, it will be like catching up with old friends.

I, for one, cannot wait. I’ll let you know how I go.

Rebecca

What are the biggest things you’ve taken away from writing conferences you have attended? Besides books, that is!