Monday, April 20

Takeaway magic

          I just got back from Indiana RWA’s “Making Magic” mini-conference. It was such a fun time.
Lani Diane Rich and Alastair Stephens
The program was excellent, the venue was beautiful, and the company was incomparable. The presenters, Story Wonk’s Lani Diane Rich and Alastair Stephens were...well, let’s go back to incomparable. They were, in true Midwestern vernacular, out-damn-standing.

          Truth is, at my point in careerhood, I’m not big on conferences because even when they’re fun, they’re exhausting. I don’t do many workshops because the subject matter often doesn’t address my concerns (a little disclaimer here, though—sometimes the presenters are so much fun I just go for that). I don’t do editor and/or agent appointments when they’re offered because, frankly, they play havoc with my nerves.

          But I still like to go. I like wine-and-whine parties in someone’s suite (Nan’s and mine this weekend). I wish the editors and agents would show up and we could all just Have A Good Time and they’d offer to buy from / represent all of us without the nerve-wracking appointments. I like meeting table-mates and I like getting the goody bag that’s always offered to all the attendees.

          So, yes, I still go. And I still have a great time. Because my favorite people I’m not related to are quite often other writers. And because—if I really need another reason—from every conference, workshop, or seminar I attend, I bring something back, what pal Joan Reeves calls a “takeaway truth.” There were a lot of those truths presented this weekend. The ones that follow are the ones that resonated loudest in my jaded writer’s ear, that called for fist pumps and shouted yeses.

          Do the work.

          You are a great writer.

          And the best and loudest of all for someone who’s at the same career-point I am. You get to do this.

          Yes, because we are writers, we get to do this every single day of our lives.

          YES!

          

31 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you had a good time - I felt like that after RWA last year and I'm already sad that i don't get to go to the national conference this year...may have to squeeze in a small conference somewhere. :)

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    1. I love the small ones! You have one somewhere in Ohio next month, I think.

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    2. there is - but we'll be knee-deep in graduations and end-of-school stuff w/bebe so... *sigh* I think there is another in the fall...may have to book that one.

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  2. Thank you for the morning smile, Liz! Are you planning to go to New York for RWA 2015? I'll buy you a glass of wine and you can whine all you want!

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    1. No. I'd love to go again sometime, but I'm really happier at the small ones. Not nearly so overwhelmed! :-)

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  3. Liz, love your "takeaway truths"! Sounds like you had a blast--and that's pretty important, too.

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  4. What a great day! One aspect I enjoyed from their talk was to be proud of what we do: we touch people's lives, offer an escape, and provide entertainment. We do good work. And yes, Liz, you are a great writer!
    Jillian

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    1. Thanks, Jill. So are you--and a great friend, too!

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  5. So wished I could have made it, but had to work both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Glad you had a good time.

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    1. I wish you could have, too, Marleen. It was great!

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  6. So true, Liz. Conferences make us crazy but we go because we need contact with other writers.

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    1. We do, and I have a great RWA chapter, but the two-hour drive (and some laziness) limits my contact, so I'm probably crazier about conferences than some. :-)

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  7. I was able to attend the Midwest Writer's Conference this weekend in Indy and had a fantastic time! Hopefully next year's won't be the same weekend. Yes, you are a wonderful writer and YES, you get to do this! ;)

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    1. I hope not, either, Molly. I'm not sure how it happened, but glad you had a great time, too. Thank you! Same goes. :-)

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  8. Hey, Roomie! IRWA Making Magic was truly magical! Loved every moment and it fired me up for writing again, which I needed desperately. Christmas in Willow Bay is bubbling in my head and I've already made notes. So glad we Lani and Alastair--great couple, amazing speakers, and wow, what fun!! Oh, and I agree--the smaller conferences work better for me, too! Bises, baby!

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    1. I am SOOO glad it fired you up for writing! And I can't wait to talk more about Christmas in Willow Bay. I loved the weekend!

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  9. We get to do this. That says it all. And we get to do it with a bunch of wonderful women struggling toward the same goal - brightening the life of a reader somewhere with sore feet, screaming children, or a house that's too quiet and needs our noise. You're great, Liz!

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    1. Thanks, Muriel. We are so lucky, aren't we? Something else Lani and Alastair stressed was that it only takes one reader to make a story worthwhile. Especially, in my mind, if that reader is one of those who "needs our noise."

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  10. Liz, It was definitely a magical event. Lani and Alastair were wonderful presenters. I got to meet you and Nan and many other great writers. I had such a fabulous time learning and talking. It helped me realize that I can fulfill the next thing on my list, writing a novel. Thanks for being so kind to me!

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    1. It was fun talking to you, Carolyn. I'm so glad you were there. We all have lists nowadays, don't we? And I am so grateful that we do.

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  11. Thank you for sharing your insights as to why you attended the conference. Now I don't feel so jaded about them myself.

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    1. I used to think I was "supposed" to get certain things from conferences; for instance, I watched Deb Dixon do her Goal, Motivation, Conflict seminar and she was wonderful! However, GMC is still a concept I can't work with. It's there--it has to be in order for a story to be successful--but I can't identify it till the writing is done. For a while, I hated that I couldn't "do" it, but I got so much more from seeing and hearing her than just GMC. I think, if you watch for them, you can always get good things that work for you at conferences--even if it's not the things you intended or hoped for.

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  12. I don't go to every workshop either. And I schedule in me time where I can sit and stitch needlepoint to quiet down. Invariably, I make a new friend. I quit querying agents and editors especially when I worked RWA's and saw a woman bawling after her meeting. That's too much stress. And I worked another editor agent thing and the agent I spoke with said she didn't take my work although her bio said she did. Was so disappointed because I could have spoken with someone else and not wasted hers and my time.

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    1. Oh, that's sad, if someone is that torn up over 15 minutes. I wasn't that upset, but I must admit the appointments always gave me a rough hour or so and--unlike many--I was never signed and I never sold a book that way.

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  13. Hi, Liz. Glad my "takeaway" gave you a word for your title, not that you needed any help. Sounds like a great conference.

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    1. It was great, Joan. Your word was valuable!

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  14. We get to do this. I love that. Wise words.

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