The third and final of my Lilly-grant-funded adventures this year was the Midwest Writers Workshop (#42, certainly an auspicious sign!).
This workshop was AMAZING! I got a ton out of it and it really had the most breadth in terms of a writing conference that could meet the needs of people at all levels, from novices just starting their novels to published authors looking for networking opportunities.
I’m now in a new Facebook group (“The Oversharers”), I finally got pretty good at Twitter, and I met a number of most excellent people, including agents: THE QUERY SHARK, aka Janet Reid, who is hilarious and wonderful (she did a workshop and a keynote AND I got a seat at her table for one of the “buttonhole the experts” sessions); Brooks Sherman (who gave me excellent advice during my pitch session and was also hilarious at the agent panel); and Michelle Richter, who gave very helpful advice on my practice query letter.
Other Faculty members included authors and experts with advice on everything from drafting to revision to taxes (Thanks to Gary Hensley, I now know what it takes to qualify as a professional writer in the eyes of the IRS–luckily, it doesn’t have to involve actually managing to sell anything!). I also really enjoyed Dana Kaye of Kaye Publicity, who was hilarious and had the most amazing bowties EVER.
I tweeted a bunch, and I even figured out storify to make it easy for non-tweeters to read my tweets (not that they’re that super duper interesting… but if you want them, here they are!
I will *definitely* plan to return… as soon as I get my manuscript done. So, hopefully, next year! 🙂
Currently I’m looking at about six chapters and a synopsis; the downside is that as it now stands, we’re looking at a 2-3 book scenario. But hey! Getting one done will be a start.
I’m also tempted to start working on my shelved romantic suspense thing that I was playing with with a friend, or one of the two reinventing-a-classic ideas I had, or the possible NA Thriller…
Uhhhh, clearly focus is something I lack.
I also need to be reading a lot more, especially recent releases, to stay up on the market. So maybe I’ll start shooting for weekly (ok, more likely bi-weekly) book reviews here on the blog?
At any rate, MWW was a really fantastic workshop, and I will definitely return, and I highly recommend it to other aspiring writers/not-yet-published authors/etc. And I really need to channel my enthusiasm into one project.
Or two. Two might work.