Wednesday, May 18, 2011

life itself

Having just spent four glorious days at the Pennwriters Conference  in Pittsburgh…surrounded by authors, agents, publishers, and other writers…I think I’m experiencing withdrawal.
My mind is spinning with all I learned. I find myself craving the kind of support and encouragement I experienced there. And already I miss the new friends I made there. This could be serious because I have a lot to do this week…and that’s the problem.
I’ll be away for a couple of days and then I have to go into the office for a couple of days. But I have yard work to catch up on. Cleaning and laundry to do. Pets to tend, and friends and family to connect with. What makes writing so hard is not the writing itself but the obstacles to writing that constitute life itself.
This week I want to be writing, studying, sending off submissions, and improving my on-line presence. I have critique groups to prepare for and research to start. There are deadlines to meet. It’s all getting to be a little overwhelming.
And here I thought I’d left that all behind when I retired! I have to remind myself that I could be sunning myself by the pool or chatting with friends over lunch. I could wander into the woods with my dog or take her to the lake. Life is no longer one big productivity quotient for me. Or is it? Sometimes I measure retirement by the number of words I write in a day or how many pages I revise or how many queries I send out, though now I do it by choice…as do so many other like-minded souls, the kind of people who surrounded me last week.
I can’t say enough about the Pennwriters Conference. Multi-tasker extraordinaire, Jonathan Mayberry was a workshop leader and keynote speaker—a genuinely fine and thoughtful man. Another keynote speaker was novelist and contributing editor Jacquelyn Mitchard. She shared wisdom about her long road back from near ruin. Medical thriller writer CJ Lyons conducted several workshops as well. Agents Ginjer Buchanan, Rachel Coyne, Denise Little, Kathleen Ortiz, Barbara Poelle, Marcy Posner, and Victoria Skurnick took pitches, as did publisher and author Cathy Teets of Headline Books, Inc.
Local writers were represented as well, including travel writer and novelist Don Helin, and novelist and journalist Bill Peschel. The faculty and staff from the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University included Timons Esaias, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Jason Jack Miller. Chuck Sambuchino of Guide to Literary Agents fame was there…and this is just a sampling of the presenters and motivators whose inspiration and know-how we soaked up for four days.
The good news is that you can join us next year. You don’t have to be a member to attend and you don’t have to live in Pennsylvania to be a member! You can also take advantage of round-robin on-line critique groups, on-line classes, local critique groups, and social networking as a member. Check out for more information.
Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this year’s conference a resounding success…and to everyone who will be involved in planning and participating in next year’s Pennwriters Conference.
How will you craft your career?
“Surround yourself with people
who respect and treat you well.”
--Claudia Black--

1 comment:

  1. I, too, had an amazing experience at the Pennwriters Conference. And it was very nice to meet you in person.

    I'm sifting through my notes, creating blog posts to share what I learned and emailing all my new writing contacts. The energizing support is still coursing through me, and it's time to put all the new knowledge to use.

    Take a deep breath. Everything will be just fine.