This past weekend I attended the 4th annual Hampton Roads Writers writers’ conference held here in Virginia Beach. It was fabulous! In fact, I talked to several writers who have attended many writing conferences, and they agreed that ours was one of the very best they’ve ever been to. Our writers were Rick Mofina, Alma Katsu, Patricia Hermes, John DeDakis, C.L. Bevill, as well as several local writers. We also had agents in attendance.
I think one of the signs of a great conference is when you can’t make up your mind which break-out sessions you want to attend because they all sound so good, and this was the case this past weekend. If you’ve never been to a writing conference, I urge you to think about attending. Why not come to ours next year? It’s the third weekend in September.
The point of this post, though, is to write about the “Now what?” that inevitably comes out of experiences like this. I’m always so pumped right after a writing conference. They make me want to work harder. They make me want to sit my butt in this chair and get busy on my dream. They renew my writing passion. Last year’s conference led me to take the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge, and I wrote 50,000 words of my novel in November. I never touched it after that. So the “Now what?” for this conference is that I feel emboldened to pick up that very rough draft and complete it and then work on rewriting it. Will I stick with it long enough to finally finish it? One can hope.
The thing that stands out for me about this conference is the image of Rick Mofina, giving his keynote address, and telling all of us that he was shocked when he got the call that we wanted him for our keynote speaker. He is an award-winning novelist with fourteen published books, and he said, “Why would you want me? Who am I?” This humble, well-spoken man from Canada, expressed the insecurities of so many of us writers. Who are we that we would think anybody would want to listen to us? It was refreshing to hear this from such a prolific and well-respected novelist. It made us feel like he was one of us, that he understood how we felt. It gave us hope that we, too, could be successful writers one day, if we are willing to put in the effort and not give up.
This applies to you, too, who are reading this. When someone asks you what you do, be bold and tell them, “I am a writer.” Do not apologize and mumble, “Oh, I write a little blog. I’m not a real writer.” If you blog, you are a writer. A writer is someone who writes. No, not end of story. Just the beginning.
Hi Susan, I did a new post last night, you might find it interesting. Happy Friday!
I did take a look. Nicely done!
I haven’t touched my novel since last year’s NaNoWriMo either. Trying to decide if I should do it again this year. Yikes – it’s exciting and scary!
The thing with doing NaNoWriMo again is that I couldn’t work on this novel because the rules are you have to work on something new. So I think I’ll skip it this year and try to finish this one. Good luck to whatever you decide.
I need to rethink the definition of writer. Never considered myself “a real writer”, because “i write a little blog”. Thanks for this encouraging post!
Oh, Shanghai, you are, indeed, a writer! I love to read your posts. They give me a window into another world.
Encouraging post, Susan. Glad you enjoyed the conference. Just the beginning–we’d better get to it!
Saw a couple of your writing buddies at the conference, Patti. Next year you must join us.
So very true! I would LOVE to get to a Writer’s conference one day – if for no other reason that to get to meet with agents! But here in Bangladesh that is just about impossible. Maybe, when I finally get back to Britain after next year, I’ll get the chance. Til then, it’s back to the blog again! 🙂
Ken, you will have so much material for an incredible book when you return. Hope you are keeping good notes.
Over 100,000 words to a private diary plus the book I will publish very soon will be about our life here in Bangladesh so yes, I hope there IS a book about the WHOLE adventure once we return. We will have to see! (Doesn’t get me an agent though, there’s the rub 😦 )
You need to start researching agents, Ken. There are directories for that which tell you which agents specialize in what genres.
yes, I’m aware of one or two potential avenues but also very aware that more often than not, it is meeting them face to face that makes all the difference. Never mind 🙂
I totally know that “now what?” feeling after conferences. Especially with writing. Sounds like it was a great one so I hope you are happy with whatever your follow-through turns out to be.
Thanks for linking up with us on Just.Be.Enough! I enjoyed reading this.
I found your site through my daughter, Robin. She writes My Pajama Days.
Your excitement is catchy Susan! Now I’m all geared up to find a writers’ conference and pumped up enough to call myself a real writer! Some posts are truly inspirational and this is one. Thanks so much for sharing and good luck with that novel!
Maybe you’ll join me here in Virginia Beach next year, Dor. I bet there is a conference in your neck of the woods, though.
I can say I’m a blogger but not sure if I’m ready to say I’m a writer yet. Guess I should start my novel.
To be a writer, HG, doesn’t mean you have to be a novelist. Your posts are an excellent show of your skills as a writer.
Has it been a year already? I remember reading your post about the writer’s convention…
Yes, it’s been a whole year and I’ve done nothing! But I’m going to fix that, Amy.
I am off to a writer’s retreat in Montana on Wednesday. There will be ten of us and we will be led by author Laura Munson. I know I will come back feeling inspired and pumped, as you do. But I need to get over that hump of doubt and block of fear and that nagging sense that writing is no more than just a dabble. You are right, Susan. It’s time 🙂
I can’t wait to hear about your writer’s retreat, Stacia, when you come and visit Al and me in Virginia Beach (you can stay at my house!). As much as I know you will be learning so much from the presenters, everyone could learn so much from you. You are one of the most awesome writers I know! Well…sort of know.
I’m an accountant. But now – because of my blog – just a little – I am being seen as a writer too. Just this morning, our marketing manager asked me to punch up a little email copy for them. Wow… that felt GREAT!
Woo-hoo, NQO! Start saying it like you believe it: “I am a writer!”
Now what, indeed. We can be an insecure lot. I have Older Eyes business cards that I keep in my wallet that say Bud Reed – Writer under my name. I hand them to people if they want to check out a post.
I like that, Bud. I made some business card on my computer, but I just put my name and my website. I left out writer completely. I’m going to go and redo them after reading your comment. Thanks.
I haven’t been to a writer’s conference in a very long time. Thanks for the viral kick in the butt… sounds wonderful and I will keep coming back to this post to remind me to get better about posting. Thank you to one of my favorite writers. DAF
Maybe one day we will meet up at a writers’ conference, DAF.
wouldn’t that be fun?
It could happen, DAF!
I never admit to writing or blogging. But your conference sounds like fun! If you’ve done that novel, you’ve got to the face the next stage too. 🙂
I never heard of a writer’s conference. How did you find out about it?
You can find out about writing conference from many sources, Life. Research local writing groups in your area and see what they have to offer. Being part of a writing group gives you a lot of support and other resources. Google “writers’ conferences” and see what ones are nearby. Get an issue of Writer’s Digest or another writer’s magazine. They always have writing conferences listed in the back. Most people have to go away to a writing conference. For example, my daughter went to one this spring in Dallas. But with airfare and hotel expenses, plus the cost of the conference, that can get quite pricey. I hope you can find one in your area.
Thanks so much for the tips. I could feel your excitement in your post. I love getting that feeling when I leave a seminar. I’ll let you know how my search goes.
Inspiring, to say the least. I blog, therefore, I write. Never thought of it that way before. Hope you stay with that novel, Susan!
From one writer to another, I just have stop making excuses, Al. It may never go anywhere, but just the exercise of getting to done will be worth the effort.
Sounds like an awesome and inspiring conference. So far I haven’t been good at the follow-through, once inspired… baby steps.
I never was until last year, Carol. And you are so right. We have to take a lot of baby steps before we finally get somewhere. At my age, though, I need to stop dragging my feet.