by Robin E. Mason
originally posted on my blog, http://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/ on 3-27-15
“I’ve been thrown in the deep end. Of a deep ocean. In a tidal wave. …
Since the release of Tessa, I have sought to broaden my writer’s presence. I have joined writer’s pages and groups, I have subscribed to other author’s pages. I started a blog and revived another one, and this robin bird finally decided to tweet.” [blog post “Drowning” 041114]
When I wrote Tessa I didn’t know for Author page—Facebook or Amazon—hadn’t even heard of Goodreads, avoided Twitter, and wasn’t blogging at all, at all. I wrote. That was it. Only AFTER she was released into the wild did I plug myself into the unique community of writers. A year ago, I was “ … learning to swim. And I think my feet are touching some sand in the murky waters, and I’m starting to wade through this media panoply.” [blog post “Drowning” 041114]
That was media. The other, and perhaps more enriching, branch of this tree I’ve climbed, is writer’s groups (and yes, I’ve attended) and conferences. And this is the more troublesome branch for me, because… it involves money. (‘nother story, ‘nother blog post, ‘nother time – think testimony) Money: I haven’t had it. Not to spare, barely enough to meet living expenses. Ergo, definitely not there to pay for a conference, let alone travel to and from, or accommodations whilst there. I longed to go, to attend, to rub shoulders with the who’s who of writing. I viewed pics posted on Facebook wistfully, hoping – praying – for my turn.
MY TURN CAME!! Weekend with The Writers (WWTW) was right here in Greenville, SC!!! I could walk to it I had to…. (so glad I didn’t have to)
Let me take a moment and share how this came about—and the utter and incomparable value of networking. I was part of a thread in one of my writer groups, talking about memes. I do a decent meme, and promised to create a meme tutorial on my process. (haven’t forgotten that, ya’ll!!) One of the participants and I were later having a private IM conversation about it, and she asked me where I live. Because she was coming to a conference in Greenville, SC. That was the first I heard of it! I clicked on the link, Father God made a way for me to pay for it, my new friend offered to let me room with her, AND they picked me up. (oh yeah, I’m not driving right now—long story, also money related… ) And I only heard of the conference on 25 February—THREE WEEKS before the conference!! I shared with a friend how it all came together, and me watching it happen; she said, “Favor looks good on you.” To which I replied, “It feels kinda good too.”
So I got there, and it was amazing. I was at a conference!!! On the one hand, it felt as natural as if I did this every day. On the other hand, I felt like a five-year-old at Disney for the first time. (I kinda was!!)
Headlining our event were Kristen Heitzmann, DiAnn Mills, Edie Melson, and Lynette Eason, all names I’d seen and at least read blog posts. Only one, Kristen, had I heard of before I dove into my own writing career, having read Freefall, a few years ago, declaring her to be one of my new favorite authors. All of them personable and approachable, willing to interact – not sure what I expected, not divas with body guards, I’m sure! I felt as an associate, if at entry level, with their stellar multi-published careers. Quite heady for this former invisiblet!!
Gotta give a SHOUT OUT to the WWTW staff, who were amazing, catering to the needs of each of us in the room – even providing chocolate for us at the mid-afternoon doze-off on Saturday – and making us all feel welcome.
My takeaways from the event – and I benefited from each one:
- DiAnn Mills and Characterization (possibly my weakest area) – let’s see, she covered a good gamut—body language, color symbolism, sensory perception. The stand-out statement for me, “Transfer my emotion to my character point of view.” (altho, I think my tendency is more that I pick up the emotion of my characters.)
- Kristen Heitzmann and Writing a Compelling Story – “A compelling story compels me to write it.” There’s more but I don’t want to give the whole conference away for future attendees!! *wink wink And yes, when I’m writing, I’m compelled to do so.
- Lynette Eason and Queries and Proposals – For me, more of a review. Bottom line, be professional about it.
- Edie Melson and Social Media – Hot topic for this writer! Remember the “Drowning” references above? Edie also covered a good gamut in her topic, and made me feel good that I’m doing the right things, media-wise. Mostly. I need to up my “presence” on Twitter, with #hashtags (yeeps! they’re missing from this post!!) and some great suggestions for tweeting on the regular.
And the biggest take-away: no two authors’ paths are identical. Every article written, every conference workshop, offers something of value; and every author gleans from this tidal wave of information the splashes and puddles that best fit his or her career. I was very happy to hear a consensus that if you are an edit-as-you go writer, which I am, then OWN IT. Yes, thank you.
I take that back. The best take-away from this conference are the friends and connections I made. Now if I could just get my pics to upload from my phone….
WRITING PROMPT: I arrived at the hotel and it was more than I could have imagined! My room was right next to the guest speaker…
I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas. I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years. My characters face many of these same demons.
I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.
Come visit me at:
Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas, My First Conference, Weekend with the Writers, Kristen Heitzmann, Lynette Eason, Edie Melson, DiAnn Mills, #FORWARD