What WriteOnCon Taught Me

WriteOnCon was my first official writer’s conference. Yep, I can finally turn in that V-card. As a starving artist, I’m grateful. It was free. I could attend in my bummy house clothes. It was free. My budget wasn’t wrecked by travel, food and lodging expenses.

Did I mention it was free?

All the goodies are archived and the forums are still open, so get over there now and avail yourselves.

So what did I learn?

Middle Grade is where it’s at

Seriously. It was mentioned a gazillion times during the live agent/author chats. I’m not advocating chasing a trend (because apparently people aren’t querying them enough to kickstart a trend in the first place), but if you have a MG idea that’s burning a hole in your brain pocket or a manuscript that needs to meet the world, get busy!

Writers are a generous lot

The comments in the forum threads were overwhelmingly helpful and encouraging. For the most part, people knew the difference between criticism and critique. It made me glad to be a part of this community. Additionally, the conference organizers and other industry pros who gave us so much without asking for a scrap of anything in return consistently blew my mind.

Seeing your work through the eyes of others is a trip

I sit with the words I write for a long time, crafting, editing, revising, and teeth-gnashing. But all of that is done from my perspective. It was so interesting to see how everyone else interpreted it. More than once, I had to ask myself, “What did I mean when I wrote that?”

A network of spies comes in handy

Twitter provided a wealth of supplemental info to the conference, including the intrepid Ninja Agent reporting of John Lucas Hargis and his merry band of stalkers. Although the colorfully-named agents combing the threads were anonymous, thanks to these folks I knew where they were every single minute.

You have to be in the room

Access is everything. How can you bemoan the fact that nobody knows how (insert insanely flattering adjective here) you are if you don’t show up? Putting your writing into the world is scary, believe me I know. But nothing happens if you don’t take that first step. And honestly, I can’t imagine a better place to do it than with a bunch of people who know exactly how it feels to take those kinds of chances.

Thanks to everyone who shared their work and offered their thoughts on mine!

Other conference reflections:

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