Saturday, April 2, 2011

Whidbey Island Writers Conference Day 1, Part 1

I’d been looking forward to this conference for months. It was advertised as unique and I was intrigued to compare the differences with other conferences I’ve attended. I live a short distance from this year's site so the travel was incidental. Rain welcomed me Friday morning as I said goodbye to wife and kids. A short ferry ride from Everett to Clinton, a 30-minute drive and I arrived in Coupeville exactly at 9am for registration.
No familiar faces greeted me but I’d resolved in advance of the conference to cast off my historically wallflower-like personality around strangers and to engage people. I admit it takes me a few minutes to warm up to the idea. It’s not that I’m your traditional introvert; I’m just uncomfortable around strangers. I’ve learned that’s a bad trait to possess at writer’s conferences! Besides, who knows what great friend one might be missing by not reaching out.
Many editor/agent consults were already under way when I departed for my first session with Carolyn Tamler entitled “Envision Your Future as a Successful Writer.” I’ve become a huge advocate of goal-setting in writing and map my own goals out each year. While some of the session covered concepts I already used, I found it encouraging to break up into small groups and learn where other writers were coming from. It also helped me add to my list of goal, redefine some I’d purposely left vague and consider new priorities.
We all chose one specific goal with which to jump into the questionnaire. I chose to have at least three completed, full revised manuscripts ready to submit to an agent within a year. When I reviewed the question “what exists to get you to this goal?”, I discovered the amount of work I’ve completed but still required further revisions/edits. I get encouraged by the small things and while I realize cutting and slashing your novels can be challenging and painful, I welcomed the thought of the finished product – looking ahead to when my agent or editor will advise yet further rewrites.
Over the course of the next week, I will be covering my conference experience in detail for you and it’s my hope you’ll join me and glean something useful.
NEXT UP: Friday pitch session and critique

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