January 11, 2011

Those who cannot do…

Filed under: Backstory — jenny @ 10:04 pm

Teach. Or so the saying goes.

I don’t believe it, and not just because I’m set to begin teaching myself this February.

And so when I hit that brick wall, unagented, with a ms no one wanted, I decided to do the one thing I hadn’t done yet…go where the writing teachers were.

Not for the teaching per se, although we all can always use that, too. But what I really wanted were the contacts.

Have you ever gone to a writing conference? There was a great post by the author Sunny Frazier, whose Moment appeared here, on Lelia Taylor’s wonderful blog–Lelia is a Suspense Your Disbelief alumna, too :) Anyway, it was about the best conferences Sunny has gone to.

I don’t have nearly the breadth of experience Sunny does. But I thought the very first writing workshop I chose to attend was about as crazy a mixed bag as Sunny describes. There were the writers who came to loggerheads–and near hammer blows–with the teachers. There were the literati who couldn’t imagine altering a word they had written. There were friends that I call dear to this day.

Oh, and those contacts?

I met one literary agent who agreed to read my ms, one writer who offered to deliver my ms into the hands of a literary agent she knew, and a writing guru whose work in the biz influences me to this day.

I went to that conference family in tow. I was still nursing my first, and couldn’t leave her, obviously. The staff there were wonderful about accommodating us, although you can probably imagine how I felt when the baby cried at 3 am, potentially disturbing all those VIPs sleeping nearby in the cozy, rustic quarters.

(Indeed, my husband jumped up, snatched the baby out of the Play n’ Pack and went driving around till she fell back to sleep).

It was a crazy, heady time, and I heartily recommend finding a conference or workshop that suits your needs if you have come to a stuck place in your career.

You never know what might get jump-started.

This is the one I chose.

Next time I will tell you what it did for me.


  1. Jenny, thank you for the kind plug ;) Not being a writer, I can’t claim special knowledge of that end of things but I believe you hit on exactly the right thing to do to give yourself a jumpstart.

    Comment by Lelia Taylor — January 11, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

  2. Wow, how fun to be included on Suspense Your Disbelief. Yeah, conferences and conventions come in all sizes and shapes. I hope your readers give them a try and be open to anything and everything that can possibly happen. Sure, they’re informative, but what fun to meet authors you read in person. In my world, they are rock stars, royalty. I’m forever a fan.

    Comment by Sunny Frazier — January 11, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  3. Lelia, that was no plug–plain and simple, if you don’t know Buried Under Books, find it, Google it, subscribe. You will find terrific reviews, smart guest posts, and a bookish atmosphere that’s next best to wandering the stacks.

    And readers, if you are looking for a conference, write to Sunny. She is involved with at least two that are on my dream list.

    Comment by jenny — January 11, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

  4. I would LOVE to go to one. Alas… the money isn’t there. I just can’t justify it. Seems we are always poised so close to the brink of disaster. If I can get a really GOOD sale though… THEN I would (if only it were that easy, yeah?)

    Comment by Hart — January 12, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress