LTUE And The Aftermath
Over Valentine’s weekend I journeyed to snowy Utah for my first writing conference: Life, The Universe, & Everything.
Here were the good things: I stayed with my friend of 20 years and fellow writer, Sarah, got to play with her baby and meet some new friends. I met with an editor of a publishing house for a critique! I learned a lot from the panels I attended.
Here was the not-so-fun part: I was sick, in some form or another, almost the entire weekend and the following week.
I’ll be honest, being sick really tainted that experience and has kind of leaked into my writing since. Notice this blog started over a month after the conference? I kept telling myself “I’ve been too sick” to put what I learned to good use. And that was true! For maybe the first two weeks after I got back. Since, I’ve done exactly what the title of this blog suggests- procrastinate.
I’m a master of procrastination; there’s always another chapter to read, another book, another TV show, another movie to watch. And I’ll guilt myself pretty good when I choose those over my writing, but it’s usually followed by “I’ll write twice as much tomorrow” or “it was a creative outlet, though so doesn’t that count?” You want the answer? No, it doesn’t count. Everything you read from successful people or quotes on success all say the same thing: you’re never going to get what you want out of life if you don’t do it. The follow-up to that mentality is something along the lines of “if you don’t make the time then clearly you don’t want it enough.” I hate that follow-up. Hate it! I refuse to buy in to that belief, but then I get stubborn and try to prove “well damn it, I do want it!” So maybe there’s some truth in that mentality, though I find it somewhat negative.
Okay that was a little bit of a rant. Back to my LTUE experience.
Probably- and by that I mean most definitely- the most beneficial part of the conference was the 10 minute meeting/critique with the editor. I chose to do a critique (versus a pitch) based on the advice of my friend Sarah. Better to get feedback and still have my book considered than go for a pitch (that I have no clue how to do) and crash and burn with nothing to show for it. So I walk into this tiny room, shake hands with the editor (I’d love to put his name and company, but I don’t know if I’m allowed), and we sit down to chat for a few minutes. He was great at calming my nerves, and, you know me, once I start talking I’ll never shut up so he was good at getting to business, as well.
He read over the first page of The Cavern (my YA dystopian novel) and my query letter. My next post will be on the horror that is the query letter, but just know that I’d spent a week of back and forth with Sarah trying to nail this stupid thing down. And this was on top of already having a query written that had been denied twice. Suffice it to say, I hate query letters!
Ack another rant! Someone really must make me shut up.
He read over these two pages and had very positive feedback. I was so excited! He even said after I’d made the suggested changes to send it in addressed to him. Now, I’m under no illusion that he’d said this only to me, but still, it was very exciting that someone might be interested in my work. After leaving the meeting I quickly wrote down some notes so I didn’t forget. Of course, now I can’t decipher my own shorthand, but the important stuff is still locked in my brain so I’m not worrying too much.
I’m going to wrap this post up soon, don’t worry. So it’s been over a month since LTUE. I’ve written the extra opening paragraphs the editor suggested. I’ve had help with a new, shorter query letter. I can potentially send in the first 3 chapters of the The Cavern to this publishing house. So why haven’t I?
We fear the thing we want the most. Robert Anthony
Honestly, I have no clue who this guy is, but the quote is pretty darn fitting, wouldn’t you say?