I’ve been going to writer’s conferences for years, and after awhile I begin to recognize familiar faces who attend every year.
Every year? you ask. It’s not as nutso as you think. Conferences aren’t retreads of their previous cons. They mix them up and update it with new speakers and seminars. They also look for agents and editors who are looking for authors with wonderful books. So just because you didn’t score a publishing deal or agent representation last year – or the year before – doesn’t mean you won’t this year. Or the next.
Writing is a process, and you never know when you’ll listen to a seminar that speaks to you. It’s that ah ha moment where the clouds part and the angels sing. Eureka! you scream before running back to your laptop and rearranging a story arc, character development, plot twist. You simply can’t put a price on that magic moment that elevates your story or gets you over a rough patch.
The biggest hurdle is battling the fear of failure. Rejection letters have a way of flagging authors’ determination to keep on keepin’ on, but I have seen authors who have pitched their books – refined them – pitched them again – for a few years in a row…and found a great agent or a contract offer for publication. Is it worth all the angst of rewrites and learning? Well, I certainly think so, and I’d bet those who scored deals would agree. Writing is a learning process, and with each step backward, hopefully there are three steps taken forward that will get you closer to your goal.
I wish more authors appreciated and respected the entire writing process because it’s a journey from Point A to Point B – and yes, rejection is an integral part of that process. There is so much that is learned through trial and error – and attending conferences. It’s one of the reasons why I dislike the vanity route so much. Instead of taking precious time to learn the craft and the business, authors rush to what appears to be the quickest path to publication, never realizing all the vital steps they missed along the way.
Always keep in mind that where you are now has nothing to do with where you’ll be in the future. You have no idea where you might be a year from now, so enjoy the learning process and embrace the journey. Greatness could be lurking right around the corner. And that is why I love this business.