Recently I attended the NOLASTARS writing conference in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was a delightful experience. Well organized from the first hour until the last minute, it offered other attendees and me an opportunity to renew our creative spirits. The delicious food let visitors know the locals take dining seriously. Workshops showed me new wrinkles of old ideas. Generous agents/editors shared their time and asked for lots of submissions.
One of the most recognized names at the conference, Barbara Vey is a contributing editor for Publishers Weekly and travels across the country, covering book festivals, writing conferences, and DragonCon. She is one of my favorite people on the planet. Barbara brings readers and writers together with her popular blog, “Beyond Her Book.” At the conference she shared her insights into the changing industry and explained the best way to build a platform and gain name recognition. Her infectious laugh captured the audience as she went over a “do and don’t” list. I agree with her. I’m careful about what I put on the internet and try to be courteous, gracious, and positive at all times. She reminded everyone to enjoy our time with other writers, but remember our fan base, the readers.
Writing conferences are great sources of education, inspiration, fun, and friendship. The workshops provide writers new insight into honing our craft and making us better artists. Whatever our weakness–characterization, dialogue, POV–we can find a program to improve our skills. I plan to attend writing conferences as often as I can.
The energy of teachers and other writers inspires us to go forward and create a better product. When life interferes, we must set our priorities and continue writing at some level. We must stay focused on our goals, set a time limit on projects and periodically review the status of our work.
Don’t forget to have fun. We must share our enthusiasm with other readers and writers. Good stories come from life, so get out there and live a full life. Learn a new skill—become a better dancer, a golfer. Let’s travel more and see the beauty of the world.
I strive to stay connected to old friends and continue to make new ones. A friend may be a neighbor, a fellow church or club member, or anyone who does nice things for me. When we offer to help others, we will be helping ourselves. Spending time with friends will make me a better person and a better writer. I treasure those who make me who I am.
Writing conferences and book festivals enrich our lives, so I encourage you to add these two fun activities to your to-do list. Yes, I hope to see you there and talk to you about that jewel of a book you want to polish and publish. You have a book in you, and the world is waiting to hear your story.