Writer’s Digest Conference, 2015

For the past month, I have committed myself to the idea that I am a writer. In June, I was let go from my job and Hubby’s outlook was, “Great! Now you’re going to focus in on your writing. You’re going to make it happen and you aren’t going to look back as you do it.”

My thoughts to this overly ambitious outlook on my now jobless self? Right. Only, I tried that last year and we see how far I’ve come.

The dream of overnight success is really a manipulative one, isn’t it?

Fortunately, I signed up back in April to go to the same Writer’s Digest Conference I attended last year in New York City. At first, I hadn’t planned on going. But when my younger brother and his wife told me they were starting to write a book, after telling them how beneficial the conference was and urging them to sign up for the Pitch Slam, I found myself months later on a train to NYC with my sister-in-law, Mallory.

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A weekend surrounded by other writers, published and unpublished, is perhaps the best way to get the creative juices flowing. For some, being around other creative geniuses is daunting. It makes them feel insecure, inferior, and incompetent. For me, it inspires. Our weekend consisted of back to back writing workshops, incredible food, keynote speakers, new coffee experiences, and pitch slamming. While I didn’t pitch this year, Mallory did and I relived the feeling of my first pitch slam vicariously through her.

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After this weekend, I was glad I didn’t pitch because my time spent in the various workshops finally clicked the ‘on’ button and opened my eyes to the drastic changes that my book has been screaming at me to make.

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As with last year, I took away a lot of golden nuggets that I certainly need to store away for the moments when I want to toss the laptop out the window, pull my hair out, and burn everything I have ever written. I love that while these thoughts were all spoken to writers, many can be applied towards other careers, and even life in general:

“Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself” – Jonathan Maberry

“Enjoy the present” – Nathan Bransford

“Don’t say, ‘I can’t’. Say, ‘How can I?'” – Gabriela Pereira

“Everyone has a story to tell” – Jacqueline Woodson

“Talent is nothing without persistence” – Jordan Rosenfeld

Wow. I’ll be applying these to the long road ahead of my work-in-progress. Hopefully this time next year, I’ll have more to share and an incredible story to tell about the journey my book has taken.

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