In the Company of Writers
BlogHer Writers was a one-day conference for ... well, writers who blog. Two hundred of us gathered for a day of education and sharing, and if the enthusiastic conversations on Twitter are any indication, the other 199 enjoyed it as much as I did. All the elements of an awesome conference -- knowledgeable and articulate presenters, well-designed sessions and workshops, and relevant topics yielding many takeaways -- were in place. Best of all, this was a community of smart and savvy women (and a few good men) who also happened to be NICE PEOPLE. What a pleasure it was to spend the day with them.
I'm a writer because I love to write. Always have. Yet my unfinished novel sits waiting for me to complete it. What's my problem? Oh, I have a million excuses, like working full-time and being too tired at night and not having the time, blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and time marches on. How much longer can I procrastinate? The time has come to stop kvetching and start producing.
I started this blog, booksiswonderful, to flex my creative writing muscles which were mightily in need of the exercise. A writer needs to write (a recurrent theme at the conference). Most successful writers will tell you that they produce something every day. It doesn't have to be perfection. It just needs to get typed on that Word document. That is what I need to do.
The well-spoken presenters at BlogHer Writers talked frankly about the publishing process, the challenges to the industry (increased costs, disappearance of Border's and Oprah's Book Club, growth of self-publishing, among others) and the even more intense competition for writers. But the good news is that new talent is still being sought, and literary agents often read blogs to discover that talent.
What else did I learn? Here's a smattering:
Using the f-bomb in blogs is OK.
Getting rejected by a gazillion agents is normal and does not mean your book is worthless. Nor does it mean that you are without talent.
It is important to get rid of toxic people in your life.
Editors and book cover designers usually, but not always, get it right.
Scrivener is worth looking into.
Publishers really do look out for your best interests.
A blog is not a book. But good writing transcends all.
I hoped this conference would teach me HOW. How to get started, how to shake off the self-doubt. How to just do it.
I came away feeling inspired. I think I can, I think I can.
I know I can.
BlogHer Writers, I will see you next year. With book proposal in hand.