I just got back from the 'Inscribe Christian Writer's Fellowship' annual conference in Edmonton, Alberta. It was my first ever writer's conference and it was exactly what I needed to spur me on in my writing adventure.
Incribe is the shortened name for 'Incribe Christian Writers' Fellowship', an organization of Canadian Christian authors from all over the country coming together to encourage and equip one another as writers.
I learned so much during my short time and met many wonderful fellow authors - some published, some 'famous' and some neither of those, but great individuals none the less with something valuable to share.
Rudy Wiebe read from his newest collection of short stories at Friday night's banquet - a delightful piece called 'The Good Maker', and Blake Paul - singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist - graced the stage for a short 'concert' of sorts mixed with some impromtu worship music. Sigmund Brower was the keynote speaker for Saturday. What a privilege to be entertained by him while gaining such nuggets about 'story', audience', and making an emotional connection with readers. It has given me lots of fodder for further posts, so you can be sure I will be elaborating on all those points in the future.
It was also a time to focus on some of the 'business' of being an author - one of the aspects of writing that I have had to learn in leaps and bounds over this past year. I liked what one presenter, Brenda Leyland, had to say regarding blogging and other use of social media. In essence, she said "Blogging matters!" Social networking, including blogging, is a fundamental shift in the way people communicate. If one hopes to be successful in this day and age, you simply cannot ignore the need to be building a platform through these various methods. So next time my husband thinks I'm spending too much time on the internet, or my son makes fun of me for blogging, I have a ready answer. I'm just going about my business! (I've already tried to explain this, but to no avail ...)
I also came away with some VERY interesting insight into some of the other business aspects of getting published - queries, agents, pitches, selling rights, etc. - thanks to Sigmund Brower. I was surprised, and I'll admit, somewhat dismayed, when one person asked him how long it took before he could support himself fully through his writing. His reply was something like, "After about 10 novels and 60 YA books." What?! If that is the case, we should all just give up, right? On the contrary, I left the conference feeling even more invigorated to continue on and to become even more purposeful in my efforts to seek publication for more of my work. Thankfully, I've got a month's worth of ideas to follow up on as well as new sites to visit and publishers and agents to check out.
All in all I hope to go again next year. This is one conference that is 'do-able' for me since it is close to home and relatively inexpensive. Even though it was a rather small affair compared to some of the bigger conferences around, it was very valuable - if just to connect with so many like minded people. I can also see the need to try to get to some of the other bigger conferences in the coming year or two as well. If one is serious about being an author, it is something that is almost a necessity. Or so I've been told ...
Any thoughts on the topic?