I’m going to my very first writer’s conference today and I’m nervous AF. This is not a nerd-con like Mile Hi Con or WhimsyCon that I go to for fun and relaxation with a side of learning, but a convention pretty much full of professional or aspiring professional writers, agents, editors and the like. This conference is no mere $70 for the weekend, but a whopping $450 (not including the add-on workshops I bought). This is SERIOUS stuff.
Let’s talk about “serious” for a moment. Attending this convention makes me feel like I have graduated into the realm of “serious” writer. And I’m not talking like “serious about writing” but rather “serious about doing something with your writing”. Like, before this, I was a writer. I wrote stuff, but let’s be honest, I fucked around. I went at my own pace and read books & watched videos about writing when I felt like it. The dream was always “yeah someday I’ll get published” but aside from randomly chucking my manuscript and query letter at a few agents and publishers, that dream was in the **far future.**
Then, when I lost my job in 2020, the goal was to get published but at that point, I had a LONG way to go. I had a completed garbage novel (Anamnesis) and some half completed other things (In Memoriam). So, all I really had to do was write. I dabbled in working with an editor, paying about $500 and then being a guinea pig for her book coaching class, but I still didn’t have a completed or polished novel. Still…a looooong way to go to the “someday” I mentioned above.
In the following year, I completed, polished and submitted In Memoriam, to a small press’s open publishing event. I also finished the rewrite of Anamnesis with the guidance of my book coach. Thus, the querying process began—sort of.
Shortly after that, 2021 saw me needing money. I put some of my writing pursuits on the back burner halfway through the year to teach ESL. By winter, I had decided that what I really needed to kick myself up to the next level as a writer, was formal education. I applied for 2 local M.A. programs in creative writing and unfortunately didn’t get in. However, I was determined to learn, so I hired a book coach (much cheaper than an M.A. program!) to redo Anamnesis’ sequel, Gen Codex. But even still, that was a lot of money to invest in my writing—the most I’d done so far.
In addition to that, I finally decided that this was the year I would attend the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Conference. The “learnings” I can expect from this conference are great, but now I’m realizing…so is the pressure. The conference fee includes a pitch session with an agent, so I’ve been agonizing over my pitch and all the things that go with it. It seems like I can tweak that crap endlessly, and it’s never going to be good enough.
But, here’s where we get back to “serious” stuff. In the last year, I’ve spent almost (or over) four grand on my writing career—and this is coming from someone who makes little enough money that she didn’t even have to file taxes. This is the big leagues now. This is me putting all my hopes and dreams in these stories that will (someday) hopefully make me money and allow me to support myself. Otherwise, this will be a massive waste of money. That’s what I mean about serious in this case. I have invested A LOT—money and time—and now I have to make something of myself.
So…no pressure or anything…
Anyway, here’s to the next stage. May the published novels be many and often (I hope).