Writing: It’s A Team Sport

I mentioned people yesterday. Let’s talk more about that.


We’ve all heard what a singular endeavor writing can be, shuttered away in a dark corner with just your imagination and your preferred implements for putting thoughts on paper. I bought into that image for a while. Then I asked a friend with an impressive list of non-fiction credits to her name for advice. What should I do once I had a completed manuscript that I thought was pretty good?


“Test it out. Workshop it at writers’ conferences,” she said.


That turned out to be darned good advice. Life-changing, in fact. Finding the right conferences introduced me to the difference between writing for myself and writing commercial fiction. Both are fine, of course. But the latter was my goal and there’s nothing lonely about it. Yes, it’s my butt in the chair creating characters and weaving their stories. However, I learned very quickly commercial writing is a team effort. Agents, editors, publishers, publicists, mentors, writing groups, and, the crown jewels: readers. At writers’ conferences, you get to meet and mingle with them all.


Take a look at the photo in this post. I snapped it while attending a recent conference. It illustrates my point. Agents dance with writers they may or may not have previously known or represent. Aspiring authors chat with best sellers. My favorite part is the table in the foreground. An author pitches an editor over dessert. She’s a writer after my own heart. I know she got some great advice.


This photo reveals the beauty of writers’ conferences. They’re what you make of them. Finding your tribe. Meeting your heroes. Being mentored by industry professionals. All opportunities of a lifetime. If you’re serious about writing for the commercial market, go. Period.


This is the perfect time of year to start planning your conference schedule for 2017. Which ones are you most interested in attending?



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