And Why Shouldn’t I?

One of the things I learned at the greatest events this year—the Writer’s Digest Conference—was to immerse myself more in the community. You. The readers. The writers. This is not something I’m good at, as I like to sit down, write a tad, close up shop and join Batman on the couch to end the day in someone else’s creativity. The Big Bang is always a favorite of mine. I’ve recently started watching Kevin from Work and—if I’m to be honest—binge watching The Walking Dead to get ready for tomorrows premier of Fear the Walking Dead.

*giggles in excitement*

Anyway, out of all the amazing things I took away from the conference, the biggest was to join the community more. To be more of a… presence online. Like, you know, posting more than once a month. And actually communicating with other writers, which I thought I was doing, but apparently I’m not. SO I’m trying to get out of this introverted cage I’ve lived in and actually –gasp!—talk to other people. I’m glad to say I’ve done my first beta-read. Yup. That’s right. Only one. I’ve been writing all this time and have only recently completed a first full-length beta read by a very talented writer who in my opinion, is ready for bookshelves. For all you non-writers, beta-reading is exactly what it sounds like—a sort of test or ‘pre-read’ for books so readers can identify plot holes, weak character development, anything that might need a fix before the book goes out to a wider audience. Have I had my books beta-read this whole time? Of course not. That would require me to do things in the logical, correct format and that never seems to be my strong suit. (Breaking a window to get into the house before using a neighbor’s phone? You get the point.)

But I’m trying. Making the effort. Really jumping outside this circle of safety that has kept me secure, but bored these last 29 years. I’ve also asked people to beta-read my work—double gasp. Because, then people would, like, actually read it and stuff. But I’m doing it! Drink in hand, by God I’m doing it! So hurray for little achievements and big achievements and achievements of all sizes and colors and shapes and smells and all that good stuff.

Lastly—and I think this is the most exciting part—I’m excited about the whole writing thing in general and where I’ve decided to take it. Which is everywhere. For those of you who know about the three books in my planned five-book series, Arizal Wars, (and have possibly read them) you’ll notice the hiatus I’ve taken as I said I’d have the fourth one out this year. It may still happen… may not. All depends if the money fairy makes a visit. And that bitch has been on a long holiday. But (and please be advised, I am still working on it) I’m also experimenting a little more. Trying my hand at horror and YA and paranormal and pretty much everything I can think of. Even fanfic. And believe me, no one thought this was more out of the realm of possibility than I did. Because, why write scenes from other people’s stories when you can write your own? But it’s apparently a big thing now and since I’m in the mindset of ‘and why shouldn’t I?’ I’m giving it a go. It’s Peter Pan fanfic and I’m putting it on wattpad like my other stuff. If it gets no bites, so be it. I think this is more for me than for you, but if you like it and want to read it, go for it. I won’t stop you 🙂

So, with all that said in this long-ass blog, any writers out there looking for beta swaps, I’m all in. For the rest of you, happy Saturday, enjoy today and I love you. Not in a ‘remember that time we were so wasted—thanks for holding my hair,’ kind of way. But in a person to person way. I love you. Believe in yourself. Love yourself. And the rest will follow.

 

***P.S. I’m going to start reviewing books. There are just *so* many good (and bad) ones out there and I can’t help but think I’m not doing my part in singing their praises. You want a great book to read and that author deserves recognition. It’s a win-win.

Stay tuned.

IWSG – Go to a Writing Conference

Well, I’m back.

And guess what? I survived the conference in the Big Apple 🙂

Thanks to Batman who actually understands how to read a map (not kidding on my part) we managed to arrive unscathed but pretty sweaty to the Roosevelt Hotel, the marvelous and grandeur host of the 2015 Annual Writer’s Digest Conference.

Pause for effect:

Expensive. Glorious and expensive.

Expensive. Glorious and expensive.

Batman and I overlooking the common folk for once.

Batman and I overlooking the common folk for once.

Yeah, pretty sure they could smell the poor on us.

This has been a year of stepping out of my comfort zone. I like my comfort zone–who doesn’t? It’s super comfy (obviously), you know everything and everybody and really, it’s the safest place to be. But you don’t learn anything. You don’t grow. You don’t advance. And you also don’t do awesome things like surround yourself with a stadium of other writers who, just like you, are there for the same dream. And wow, what a thing to be surrounded by like minded people. Writers everywhere… could it get any better?

Important people talking about important stuff. I'VE MADE IT.

Important people talking about important stuff.
I’VE MADE IT.

One of the COOLEST things was the diversity. Age, ethnicity, gender… all walks of life showed up,  all passionate and eager to learn about the same thing. I chatted with a few 20-somethings and in one seminar, sat next to an 80-something old man scribbling notes on his yellow lined paper. Incredible, all of it. Especially the Pitch Slam session which turned out to be absolutely NOT terrifying at all.

For an extra $100, this opportunity allows you to pitch your idea to as many agents as possible in a one-hour session. It’s kind of like ultimate speed dating with agent-writers. Basically, you walk into a huge room where agents sit at tables that line the walls. A line forms behind each agent and you stand in it, waiting for your turn. When it comes up, it’s your time to shine and you and the agent get a TOTAL of three minutes to discuss your project. BELIEVE me it sounds scarier than it is. Honestly, it really is like speed dating–you’re just figuring out if the possible partnership has any merit. And, I’m happy to report that out of the 6 agents I pitched, 5 asked for material. 🙂 🙂 Does that mean I actually landed an agent? Of course not. But they have an (absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous) face to associate with a query, so it’s not as ‘blind’ and may survive being immediately thrown to the slush pile. Hey, any slight advantage helps, right?

Because I’m awesome, I snuck some pics:

WD Pitch sigh

Everybody rushing around to find the agent they want to pitch!

Everybody rushing around to find the agent they want to pitch!

Waiting to pitch!

Waiting to pitch!

Even if nothing solid comes like an agent requesting the full manuscript or hell, even an agent itself–this was still an incredible experience and I HOPE HOPE HOPE you all attend at least one writing conference if you haven’t yet. You realize how realistic your dreams are because they are. And you can do it.

You can do it.

You can do it.

So go and do it.

 

***Interested in hearing what I pitched? I’m updating chapters every week on Wattpad here.

Happy IWSG to everyone 🙂 If you want to participate in this writing blog hop, check out the sign up list here. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for making this possible!