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