We are approaching the season of all seasons for writers. Not fashion week. Not award season.
I just arrived home from my first one of the year this past weekend.
After unpacking my bags, sorting through over 300 emails, and climbing back into my pj’s I realized I was both physically exhausted and mentally pumped. I’ve been attending conferences for a number of years – some big, some small, and always come home with a new view on my writing, and a bunch of new Twitter and Facebook friends.
Ah, let me count the ways...
Writers need socialization. Yes, we love our isolation with our words and characters, but I know my hubby has told me I was getting a bit...well, cranky. I was missing people other than my young children and the occasional mommy chat at the carpool lane. It’s good for us to go out, put on nice shoes, makeup, and be social. It encourages networking, and the opportunity to meet new people, which we’d never get to do anywhere else. I have met some of my very best friends from hooking up after a workshop.
Writers need to talk to other writers. This business is hard, and other than social media, we don’t get to endlessly talk plot, dialogue, and dissect a great sex scene with normal people. Writers are not normal, therefore, only other writers can truly understand us. I’m happily drained from talking shop for hours this weekend with people who don’t glaze over, look confused, or nod happily with that blank look on their face. And no one thought I was crazy.
Writers need to grow. Listening and speaking with professionals in publishing, editing, writing, and marketing is key for our career. We need to know the new information in order to make important decisions. Hanging out at conferences is like the massive water cooler in the writing world, you learn what’s going on, and what’s happening in the marketplace. Workshops are key for craft and bringing new stuff back. I was lucky to meet some fab new bloggers I hadn’t connected with, got to fan girl a fave author of mine, and received key info on some pubs.
I also had a great time.
What’s even more exciting? I received a letter from a reader I met who had never read my work. She bought one of my books after we chatted, fell in love, and has become a new fan!
And that is priceless.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. At twelve, I took a pen in hand and wrote my first love story. I haven’t stopped since. Those heroines taught me valuable lessons that served me well. I learned to keep my head up high and surge forward when I was afraid; I learned to demand respect in a relationship; I learned about compromise and dreams and independence. Those are the stories I want to write, and I can only hope I give back some of the joy I received over the years.
I live in the beautiful Hudson Valley in upstate New York. I’ve traveled to many places but always seem to be drawn back to the mountains. I graduated with a business degree, worked for Mercy College, and now spend most days dedicated to my family and my characters. I’ve pursued many career paths such as travel agent, yoga teacher and insurance salesperson. I’ve wanted to be an airline pilot, a dancer, an archaeologist, and a vineyard owner. I have been all of the above through romance novels, and intend to explore many more.
One of my turning points in my career was when I joined Romance Writers of America and met the wonderful people in my local chapter, The Hudson Valley RWA. Through supportive critique sessions, I learned how to develop my raw skills to get a publishable manuscript. I discovered my tendency for wordy prologues and passive phrases that all new writers work through, and now try to help others on their journey.
My "leisure time" is spent writing, reading, and raising two active boys. I believe animals are the other children in this world, and enjoy spending time at the local animal shelter, where I got my first "baby" Bella, a shepherd hound mix who gets into as much trouble as my son! I rescued my second dog from an abusive home, a beagle, basset hound who is the peacemaker in the household.
I met the love of my life when I had finally given up on my own romantic journey. The first time he asked me out he promised to buy my book if he could buy me dinner. We had dinner and fell in love over sushi and haven’t been apart since. We married and settled into domestic bliss. That’s when I learned it wasn’t about happy endings. It was about happy beginnings.