I’m not really a know-it-all. I mean, sure, I have a habit of telling my friends which guys to date, or that a certain girl was not good enough for them. OK, maybe on more than one occasion I KNEW how to get somewhere without consulting a map only to be on a road to nowhere. And, yes, I realize that when my husband and I argue, sometimes it dawns on me he’s right.
So even though I’m a relative newbie and have a lot to learn about writing and publishing, I’m looking at the workshop schedules for some 2012 writers conferences and feel like, well, been there done that.
Yes, I know that the publishing industry is in a major upheaval. I get that e-readers are here to stay. I realize that how to figure your taxes while working full time as a writer is a good skill to know (or in my case, just give me the damn business card for an accountant). Another workshop on how to pitch my novel, meh. Tell me one more time to build a platform and I’ll tell you to take a flying leap from it.
Why am I so jaded? Why do I sound like I’ve been going to conferences since Hemingway was pounding out prose when I’ve only attended two conferences? I think it’s because I feel unchallenged by the conference agendas out there.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting difference results. I’m not saying that attending a writers conference is a clinical diagnosis, but if after two conferences and staring at the line-up for a third, would it be insane for to attend if nothing jumps out at me? But, the upside to conferences, in addition to the camaraderie of fellow writers, is the face time with agents … agents that are bleary-eyed from hundreds of writers all eager to pitch our stories.
What would I like to see at a conference? Maybe a few more workshops on craft. For example, I’d love to take a workshop on poetry. I haven’t written any since high school, but I love when I write a lyrical line. Maybe some small critique groups – bring in a page or two to read to complete strangers and let them rip (and, fun fun, wouldn’t it be cool if an agent is hiding among them!).
Sigh. What to do, what to do. Take a year off from conferences? Or, go but realize that I’m going for the friends and the agents. Or, is there a third option that I haven’t stumbled upon …?
Is there another option for conferences out there?