Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And the truth was revealed

In early May, I traveled to my first writing conference. It was, in a word, phenomenal. I attended sessions, met wonderful writers, and even rubbed elbows with some charming published authors and literary agents. I came away energized and, most importantly, with a sense of mission.

At this conference, to be a bit melodramatic, the scales fell from my eyes. I learned, through the critique of disinterested but kind observers, how much work my writing still needs. I also learned, thanks largely to the effervescent Ann Hood, a little bit about how to approach that work. (If any of you writers out there have a chance to attend a conference session with Ann, particularly on revision, I highly, highly recommend it. If this book I'm working on now ever gets published, it will be in great part due to her lesson on revision.)

I had wondered before how to figure out what wasn't working, how to determine if and where my writing was falling short. Though I'd had feedback from family and friends, I wasn't sure that they could be as honest as I needed. (Truth in publishing though - I think what I most needed from them was support and encouragement, which was amply provided. Thank you!) In two personal sessions and numerous group sessions, I realized how far I have to go.

So that's where I've been. Not on this blog, not on Twitter, but digging deep into my novel. I'm loving the experience, though I can't say I'm not a little appalled at how much work it needs, particularly since I've already passed it around to a number of people (and agents, ack!). Opportunities lost - but lessons learned. So it's back to the grind, now. How have others learned the truth about their writing? How did you take it? I feel like I've found religion, but I suspect, unfortunately, that I have more nasty surprises waiting for me ...


Rowenna said...

So glad you found it to be such a great experience! I had planned to attend a conference this summer, but, alas, am standing in a wedding the same weekend. Perhaps next year, or another conference.

I'm pretty sure my first novel will never be published...and it's visited quite a few agents at this point :) I'm not sure that revision can help it much--just too quiet of a book, I think. I hope you learn a lot and enjoy the process of revision (even though it's difficult, and can feel so liberating to know that you're making it better!).

Carrie C said...

Thanks! This is the third manuscript I've completed, and I've learned a ton in writing all three. In a way, it's gratifying that writing is hard work - it makes me appreciate the finished product (mine and that of others) all the more!

I do hope you can make it to a writing conference soon. If it's a good one (not all are, I hear), I'm sure you'll really enjoy it. In the meantime, enjoy the wedding!

Princess Nijma

Princess Nijma