I took the plunge (financially and emotionally) and registered to attend Writer’s Digest summer conference in NYC. It wasn’t hard to make the financial decision as I was born in Brooklyn and look for any opportunity to visit. I booked the hotel and airfare in May and then sort of put it out of my head. But emotionally, I still wasn’t taking myself seriously, though. Since I’m not published yet, and I have only seriously started writing since last November, I have trouble feeling worthy or like a real writer. I’m going to call this syndrome the Pinocchio effect.
To prepare myself for the conference (and to give myself a deadline) I participated in Camp Nanowrimo in July. I wanted to use it as a springboard to finish the flipping first draft of Once Upon a Times (working title) since I had approx. 30K words left to go. I met my goal and finished the first draft, which was a significant confidence boost. I’ve never written anything that long before. Even my PhD thesis was shorter, in that it was made up of an introduction plus several published research articles. So technically my dissertation was longer, although in reality it wasn’t one cohesive piece, so the novel wins:)
I’ve read many books on writing, my Kindle is jam-packed with them, plus I have hard copies as well. At some point you have to stop reading about writing…and actually write. One helpful bit of advice I got from several books was, LEAVE YOUR BOOK ALONE for at least a month or up to six weeks before you work on the second draft. I actually used that as encouragement during Camp Nanowrimo to finish the first draft. I’d given up TV, pleasure reading and pretty much talking to my husband in an effort to get the job done. I have a full-time job, so all I have is evenings and weekends…you get the picture.
I loved having my free time back and best of all, I didn’t have to feel guilty. Everyone says, you have to have distance from the novel before you tackle the second draft. I read, caught up with my family and friends and even snuck in a little TV as well:)
This takes me to the WD conference. It was amazing! Even though I didn’t know a soul and am hopelessly shy (unless I know you and then I’ll talk your ear off), I had a wonderful time and am looking forward to next year’s conference. There were so many excellent sessions to choose from and I connected with authors I have read and met ones I want to read. It was pretty surreal.
I still struggle with believing I’m a real author–I’m attending a WD boot camp this week on query letters since the next step is to try and sell it. I’ll post on my experience with query letter writing next time.
Write because you want to, write because you must!