A Refreshing Change of Pace
It’s a rare event to be savored and appreciated. A few times a year I get away from my computer and go to another writer’s conference. I’m writing this note on the road in San Diego, California. In a few hours, I’ll get home to the Phoenix area. Yesterday’s conference is only a memory. When I walked out of the conference, a small group was transforming the room back to it’s previous state in a local church.
Each one of these conferences have their own flavor or feeling. Sherwood Wirt, now 94, founded this conference when he retired to this part of the country after leaving Decision magazine (where he was the founding editor). Now many years later, it was terrific to see Woody again and have a few minutes with him. At his age, Woody is slowing down but he continues his passion to help others with their writing. It’s that spirit of helping others which permeates each of these conferences.
I always find it particularly stimulating to meet new people, listen to their dreams and aspirations then try and help where possible. In the ASJA we commonly say, “We train our competition.” In one sense it’s true but in another sense, I believe each person attending has different dreams and places to publish than where I will write my materials. So I welcome the opportunity to give back, listen and help. I find the change of pace stimulating and encouraging.
Yes, it is tiring a bit for the editor. I taught three workshops yesterday (one of them twice). In addition, I was meeting with individuals about their potential projects for Howard Publishing or helping them with their nonfiction (with my ideas). It was an opportunity to tell people about Book Proposals That Sell and encourage them with their own aspirations for books.
Because I’ve been attending these conferences for many years, it’s also like old home week in another sense. It give me a chance to catch up with various editor friends as well as literary agents. For example, I read the publishing trades and process what I sense is behind some of the news—like when one publisher purchases something from another publisher’s backlist or any number of other details. Talking with these friends, I have a chance to process and understand some their interpretation of the news and what is the story behind the story. I hope that makes sense—insider talk—and normally restricted to the phone or email—you can do it in person at a conference. I hope you can see that I’m a bit tired but I’m still high on the great things which can happen at these conferences. Now to wing my way home….