Last weekend I attended the DFW Conference in Hurst. I remember attending another writing conference in the metroplex back in the 90's so I cannot say with certainty it was my first writing conference. But I believe I will consider my first.
First I'd like to say I've already signed up for next year's conference. What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment and a total cheapskate. Till the end of the month it's only $200. It will go up to 300 after that then up to 400.
Glutton for punishment? Basically speaking I was totally wiped out both days. I didn't go to the mixer on Saturday and by the end of lunch on Sunday I looked at my friend, Charlotte, and said "I'm brain dead." She agreed with me and we skipped out on the last afternoon. Not there wasn't anything I wanted to attend or thought wouldn't teach me something. I just couldn't absorb one more particle---even with caffeine.
I did two very difficult things for me and didn't realize how draining it would be. I made a pitch and I presented a work in progress at a limited seating (read participant) workshop for critique by a publisher and a literary agent.
Yes, the agent at my pitch was very nice. No, I didn't do it very well. But that wasn't the point or goal for me. My goal was simply to do one. "Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes" in a manner of speaking. I didn't expect to win the publishing "lottery". So when he said he wasn't interested it was no big deal. I did it. That was the biggie.
The workshop was more stressful. "Snow" is a work in progress but I have never put out my work to others in such a manner. I have beta readers and had even gotten back feedback from my primary reader before I ever went to the conference. Putting out something orally and getting immediate verbal feedback I have discovered is extremely stressful. I think I would rather walk down S. Hulen dressed in a shower curtain. But, once again, there has to be a first time for everything and I did get through it. I did get some constructive feedback. But when you're only allowed 2 pages how much can you expect? I would pay extra to have a much smaller group and be able to present a chapter. Ah, one can dream, yes?
Wiped out and lesson learned. Despite my friendly manner (dare I say cocky?) I am an introvert at the core and keeping myself leashed and on task for two extremely daunting tasks demolished me.
I like the historical research presentation and got a few ideas I hadn't considered before. I loved meeting other writers. Finding other folks my age who were also writing was wonderful. I like not being the Lone Ranger. [Bitty, I tried to find you before I left! Darn it! Next year?]
So, yes, again next year. Less business, more craft. Well, maybe I'll pitch again but perhaps I'll put that decision off for awhile. Hey, practice makes perfect. Wouldn't you agree? After all, I don't have years to waste.