Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

What a rush!

15 Comments

welcome

Welcome to WI 2016, Laurie Scheer

Finishing up Day 2 of the Writers’ Institute. Whew! Two days of writing workshops and pitching to agents. Two days with over a hundred other writers, teachers, and mentors.

What a rush!

Writing is so often a solitary pursuit; sometimes we forget we need contact with other people. There’s nothing quite like gathering with so many who like writing as much as you do.

A lot (most?) of us are introverts, needing to get away from people to focus and recharge, so being in this sort of a crowd can be disorienting and just plain wearing on nerves. But there are so many interesting people to meet! I met a nanny who is writing children’s books, a horror writer whose project sounded positively bone-chilling, a journalist looking to branch into creative non-fiction, and a screenwriter who is going to turn a screenplay into a novel.

HPR

Keynote – Hank Phillippi Ryan

The keynote speakers were fabulous. On Day 1, writer Dan Blank from WeGrowMedia presented advice on how to find an audience for your book utilizing everything from Goodreads to Amazon review lists of comparable books (books similar to yours). That audience can be a source for beta readers or ARC reviewers.

On Day 2Β  we heard from another keynote speaker, Hank Phillippi Ryan, about things she wished someone had told her about writing, like how subjective the business is. Even though the editor may love the book, it doesn’t mean the publisher will take it. Most importantly, and a theme we heard throughout the conference, it takes persistence to succeed in this business.

So many workshops on everything from voice (great one!)Β  by Josie Brown, to perfecting the first line by Ms Ryan, to blogging by Laurie Buchanan. Critique sessions with fabulous UW instructors were widely available, and a Writing Doctor (Kevin Mullen, UW-Madison alum) held office hours each day, nearly all day. Too many great workshops, not enough time!

If mixing and socializing is your thing, we had a mixer on Day 1, and tonight the mix spotlights a live literary event (needless to say, information overload demanded I rest my mushy brain with a beer and a burger at the Old Fashioned (BTW, wonderful food, and an awesome bartender!))

agent panel

(all together now: Julie takes lousy pics) The Agent panel

When our goal is to be published, agents are the means to the end (with some exceptions for small presses). So many great agents gave bits of advice on the agent panel before offering Q&A sessions and taking pitches. Practice sessions with UW instructors were also available to help writers hone their pitch.

Tomorrow is the last day, and one of my writing sisters is on the panel of success stories, so I’ll head back to glean just a bit more information and absorb another round of writing energy before returning home.

Wow, what a weekend!

A huge shout-out to Laurie Scheer and her tireless assistant, Laura Kahl, for yet another awesome Writers’ Institute.

Again, if you ever get a chance to go to a writing conference, do it. You never know who you might meet, what connections you might forge, or lessons you might learn. It’s a great place to meet other writers with whom you might organize a critique group or learn about a writing circle near you.

You’ll never know if you don’t go.

 

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Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen name: J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". Currently I have two polished novels ready for the world and a number of others waiting their turn. I write adult mystery with extrasensory elements, mystery with a touch of romance, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, six chicken, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our "au natural" hobby farm, and Ma Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

15 thoughts on “What a rush!

  1. Conferences are such an awesome experience! So many cool people to learn from and so much good motivation.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds like you are having a blast. I’ve never been to a writing conference and would really like to go. Every time a blogging friend posts about one, it reminds me what I’m missing. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds fabulous and what a wonderful variety of speakers and info! I can see why you were so excited. Did you get to pitch to some agents? Can’t wait to hear how it went. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can feel the buzz and your excitement. What a wonderful inspiring conference. Have a great time on the last day, cheering on your friend, learning invaluable nuggets of information. I’ve been to a couple of writing conferences / retreats. Mostly brilliant but one children’s author talk was
    so negative and full of doom and gloom. We all saw his despairing agent at the front shaking her head. Well, we learnt how not to do a talk!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Conferences are great. I can’t manage more than one a year, but I know this one is always fabulous. It’s close enough for me to drive, and I know I’ll get to see my mentor (she’s one of the instructors), and a couple of my writing sisters. So many writers, so much energy, and so many things to learn and remember!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Julie – I had a complete and total blast at the Writers’ Institute in Madison, Wisconsin!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Another Step Closer | Facets of a Muse

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