Question: What does it take to get the most out of a writers’ conference?
Answer: "What it takes is a whole lot of being nice."
I put that response in quotation marks because I heard those words from another author. Sabrina Jeffries giving an uplifting talk at – you guessed it – a writers’ conference.
Summer is conference time. Small retreats and huge gatherings punctuate June through August for many writers. Civilians – as in non-writers – are off to the shore or the mountains or the campsite. But we pack up our notebooks and our hopes and head for a convocation of scribes.
What most of us are hoping is that we’ll find the key to getting our work published or better published. I say that isn’t the most important thing we find at these gatherings whether they take place in a grand hotel or a modest cabin or anywhere in between.
The most important thing we find is each other. We make the most of a writers’ conference by maximizing that discovery. We writers are our own most natural allies. Why is that so true? It’s true because we understand one another from the inside.
We understand what it’s like to labor in the formidable publishing marketplace. We understand what it’s like to struggle toward getting our work published and keeping it published. We know how it feels to suffer rejection and disappointment. We also know how it feels to experience the joy of our accomplishments whether they’re large or small.
We also understand we need support in these hard struggles we’ve chosen. We understand that because we need the same support ourselves. With this understanding comes an obligation. Our obligation is to reach out and give what is needed – a little bit of niceness to our writer friends.
All it takes is a few words in a few sentences of encouragement and kindness. Over the several days or even the single weekend of a conference these few words at a time will add up to what Sabrina inspires us toward – a whole lot of being nice.
Our need to succeed tells us to be nice to the max to the agents and editors and instructors we line up for to pitch our projects or sit in front of taking notes. We long to recruit them to become our allies on the inside of the publishing world. In the meantime let’s not forget the allies we already have on the inside of the writing world.
Give what you can. A word of advice or a commiserating ear or a shared laugh – and definitely a hug. As you scurry from class to class or from appointment to appointment take a moment to touch another writer ally with your own whole lot of being nice. I guarantee you will experience a whole lot of feeling good in return.
Contributed by Alice Orr
Alice Orr loves to write. Especially Romantic Suspense novels of danger and romance. She's well known as a workshop leader, book editor and former literary agent. Now she lives her dream of writing full-time, especially romantic suspense. Alice has published thirteen novels, two novellas and a memoir so far. About her novels, Amazon says, "Alice Orr turns up the heat."
Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her husband Jonathan in New York City. website | blog | facebook
A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS
Riverton Romantic Suspense Series Book 2
Mainstream Romantic Suspense
Alice Orr Books
Hailey Lambert loves the North Country though she doesn't love some of her North Country memories. Now her estranged friend Julia is accused of murder and Hailey has no choice. She's got to help.
Mark Kalli has wanted Kalli in his bed forever but she won't give him the time of day. Now she's mixed up in a killing and Mark has no choice but to get involved - whether Hailey wants him around or not.
"This book is the perfect combination of suspense, mystery and romance and will have you turning the pages unable to put the book down." 5 Stars, Amazon Reviewer