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 ...