Writers’ conferences are depressing and they are uplifting.
The truth is always thrown in your face: how the slush piles are leaning towers of crappy writing; how slim the chances of you being published actually are. But for me this conference was mostly uplifting for a couple of reasons.
1) Every conference I’ve attended I leave feeling blessed to write nonfiction. There are a lot of places for me to publish my work and buildup the ever important “platform.” But the poor fiction writers carrying around their 858-page space/time travel romance fantasy novel they describe as “like Harry Potter, but with more sex and no wizards, and…you know…in space,” you’d have to be heartless not to feel their pain. There are very few magazines that publish fiction and they have to write their entire book before someone will look at it to buy. All I have to do is write a sample chapter and a book proposal.
2) They like my idea! An agent sat next to me at lunch as I was telling a little about my WAIW? quest. He was excited about the idea and gave me his card. While asking another agent questions about how the author-agent relationship develops (since this appears to be my next step) she got excited about my idea and gave me her card. That’s two agents who I wasn’t even trying to win over asking me to send them my proposal. Exciting stuff indeed.
Believe it or not this wasn’t even the highlight of my weekend.
Yesterday a childhood friend got married and I got to see a lot of my other childhood friends that I haven’t seen in a long time. Two of them, separately stopped me at the wedding reception and asked why I hadn’t had anything in the hometown paper in awhile. They enjoy my Travelin’ Light column and miss reading them.
Writing is all about the big payoff and it doesn’t always come from agents or publishers. It comes from regular people after a day in the field, or trucking, or building a barn, or whatever, taking a few minutes to read your story and enjoying it.
Thanks Jeff and Travis.
Today’s writing Zen:
When you are looking for an agent they are nowhere to be found. When you’re not, there they are.
Agents show more interest in your project when other agents have shown interest in your project.
The writing that pays the best is what you contribute for free.