Okay - it's been a week now, and I'm ready to write about my first writer's conference experience.
In a word, it was amazing. Hmmm - if I'm going to be a writer, I should be able to come up with a better word than that! Astonishing, wonderful, mind-blowing, remarkable, incredible astounding, and marvelous. That comes close to summing it up.
I've been to conferences before as a salesperson, and they're always a blast. You go to a new place, meet a bunch of new people, everyone is exciting and interesting and putting their best face forward. The Write Stuff conference had all of that, but in addition, I was surrounded by people who truly got me and readily accepted me into their group. Want to start a conversation about whether to kill off one of your characters? Not a problem. Questioning the use of the word "obsequious" on page 3, paragraph 2? They know what you're talking about. Trying to fit writing into your busy lifestyle? They've been there, done that, succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and now they want you to do it, too.
Jonathan Maberry presented several inspiring workshops. He advised us that if we wanted to become professional writers (i.e., people who are paid to write) we need to act like professional writers. We should spend a little time on writing every day, and reward ourselves for our work. He also encouraged us to believe that we could take on new challenges. Not only does he talk the talk, he walks the walk: he's written articles, short stories, novels, nonfiction, and even greeting cards. His range of subject matter stretches from martial arts to horror to bio terrorism - see Ultimate Jujitsu: Principles and Practice and Ghost Road Blues, among others.
I also listened to Elvira Woodruff, a great presenter and children's book author of books including Awfully Short for the First Grade and The Ravenmaster's Secret. The moment she started speaking, I could tell that she knew how to speak in public, which was interesting because her whole talk was about how afraid she was when she first started her public presentations! I always find it inspirational when people are willing to talk about how they started out, before they became successful and published and all of that. It's nice to know that everyone has to start somewhere.
I don't know if he presented anything, but Don Helin was also very helpful. He's just published his first novel, Thy Kingdom Come, after years of hard work and determination. He encouraged me to stay in the game for as long as it takes, and to have a group to work with to keep me motivated. I hope to check out the Penn Writers soon.
Here's to everyone who made the GLVWG conference a reality, and all the wonderful people who made me feel completely at home. Thank you!