Last week I spoke on a panel at a meeting of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association, and was astounded at the number of people who showed up. Lots of folks interested in being writers and looking for those tips and hints that pushed each of us toward publication. Of course, I forgot my camera, so I can’t prove that there was a crowd, so you’ll just have to take my word.
What was great about the panel is that we were a divergent crowd. Authors of suspense, urban fantasy, mystery, YA and romance wouldn’t seem a likely mix, but it made the evening more interesting (at least for me) is how differently we all worked, the things that rang true for all of us, and the delight we each had with our chosen profession. Believe me there is nothing worse than having to listen to an author go on and on about how difficult the process is. The wrenching angst of writing. How tortured they get over their characters. Oh, come on. If you didn’t love it, you’d quit. Go back to the salt mines from which you came and leave the rest of us kissing-our-good-luck and thanking-the-heavens writers in peace. I mean, where else are you going to find a job where you can show up in PJs?
Two hours whipped by as we took turns sharing hints with the crowd and getting to know each other and I came home just sort of bubbling with enthusiasm. Again, note to self, kiss your good fortune every morning. I have to wonder, will the DH with good medical benefits suffice? I hope so.
Best tips from the evening, if you are inclined to write the next great bestseller (and please do, because a rising tide floats all boats, just look at what Harry Potter did to YA!):
- Perseverance. Everyone agreed that this business takes time, but steadily learning your craft and expanding your skills, finishing books, only increases your odds of success.
- Never stop learning. This is a craft. Take time to study what your weaknesses and how to best utilize your strengths. Classes, books, online workshops, writing magazines can continue your lifelong apprenticeship in this craft.
- Write the stories you love to read, this way your passion will find its way to the pages.
Great tips, a good vibe and new friends. Not a bad night, all in all.
As I finished up the evening, I realized this had been a great start to what is going to prove to be a busy few months, with lots more events. In the works are booksignings in Chicago (around March 16th), Wichita, KS (April 2), and Orlando, Tampa and Clearwater, FL (May 7-9). These are in addition to the Events I already have on the books, (including Portland, Or), with more being added every week. As I get the final details I’ll post them to my Events page and will make sure to send out all the details in my upcoming newsletters. Not subscribed? Yikes! Get yourself on the list so you get all the latest scoop delivered right to your inbox.
I’m sort of dazed with all the comings and goings. Can you say, “On the road again”? And again. And again. Then again, if you live in one of these areas, I hope we get a chance to meet which will indeed have me returning home dizzy with enthusiasm–you all do that to me.
Where else should I come to visit? Come on, lurkers and regular posters alike, give me a shout out where you would like me to come visit?