Being an unpublished writer can be frustrating. It’s one of the few jobs where you won’t get a pat on the back. There are no annual reviews. No bonuses. No Christmas Parties.
It’s tough to stay motivated. Harder to stay positive.
But going to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference gave me the chance to re-energize, to refocus, to learn to be a better writer, and even attend a staff party.
Plus, I would get a chance to pitch my novel to an agent or editor. Face-to-face. No interns in the way, no 150 emails before yours. Just you and an agent.
However, my wife, aka the-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, will attest to the fact that I wasn’t super excited about going this year. I moped and grumped and shuffled around like a 10-year-old being forced to eat vegetables while doing homework.
But once I got there, the energy, the workshops, and the enthusiasm of the people there turned me around.
I listened to experts, I pitched my heart out, I even got a case of chatty-Joe and talked to other writers.
Of the three people I pitched Yager’s War to, all three were interested and wanted to see more of it. All were so nice and very understanding at my Joe-ish way of pitching things.
One even took the time to ask me about me and hey, we all know there’s nothing I love better than talking about me. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What was your first book? What are you reading now? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Why did you move to Vancouver? Why are you crying?
Honestly, I learned so much, had a great time, and came away ready to charge the dragon again, my cape singed and tattered, my armor dented, but my sword sharp and my moral restored.
So what’s in the future?
First, I’ll pass along some super valuable information and links in my next blog. Man, I tell you, all the workshops I took were solid gold and I hope to pass along a small fraction of what I learned.
Second, I realized I’m unable to hold down two blogs, so I will merge my two lives into one and create something amazing. Like spaghetti and meatballs becoming the greatest meal of all time.
Third, I need a new website. I’ll post more on that next week, but it’s a daunting task so I’ve enlisted a very creative, very knowledgeable person to help me out. I’m super excited about this one.
Forth, I’m going to create a newsletter. It’s an odd and very difficult thing for me to do, but it should mean that I can connect to people directly. No more signing up for WordPress. No more having to log into the FB to find me, (cuz I know that’s why everyone logs in.) All my blogs will be sent directly to you with an electronic hug.
Lastly, I’ll definitely be asking for help. Help with the novel – like recipes, pictures, and thoughts. I’ll need help with making sure I put my best printed-foot forward – like everyone taking a hard look at my query or at what would make you buy a novel. I’ll need help with step-daddying, and look forward to everyone’s helpful suggestions.
See, this is what happens when you get inspired at SIWC#17.
You create a lot of work for yourself.
Ah, Joe, we banished the October ‘blahs’ yet again! Great post! I really feel your enthusiasm. I, too, came away energized and have been busy since Sunday and #SIWC17 reading, writing and re-connecting. Today I joined Crime Writers of Canada (you should definitely do that, in addition to the other Arthur Ellis awards, they have an ‘unchanged’ category for best unpublished crime novel, which woukd be fabulous to be nominated for, and just imagine if you won! I also signed up for ‘Sisters in Crime’, but I really don’t think you could pull off that one, notwithstanding your well developed feminine side. PS – also got the flu shot AND the Pnuemonia shot yesterday. Nothing’s gonna interfere with me finishing my book… except maybe not knowing what happens next… hmmm…
I was there, too, soaking up all the inspiration and information in a desperate attempt to validate my going-nowhere writing. I read Tyner Gillies’ blog post this morning, too — we are not alone in our waxing and waning discouragement. (http://www.tynergillies.com/quit-real-not-alone/) As long as we keep on keeping on, we’ll eventually get there. 🙂