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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

"But," No More - IWSG May 2019






It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader.  Co-hosts this month: Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca and T. Powell Coltrin. To find a list of monthly contributors, click here.



Okay, my friends, here’s the deal. In a past life I ran training seminars, interviewed candidates, negotiated job offers and represented my former company at job fairs. In my current role, I write and deliver annual speeches. I can and do deal with the public all the time. Yet, for years, folks have encouraged me to attend Grub Street’s Muse in the Marketplace, the writer’s conference held, more-or-less in my backyard. My answer was always, “I know I should, but…”

But. 

Such a nasty word.

Gosh, it’s easy to make excuses when we're scared, right? My bottom-line? I was afraid to go because it mattered too much. All that stuff I did before I called myself a writer? Not one bit of it meant a pinch of salt compared to sitting in front of my computer, sculpting a story, an essay, or a poem. But I believed I had yet to achieve my best writing and until I did, well, I figured at The Muse, I’d be exposed as a fraud.

Then, this year I hit a hard writing wall and I had to move forward or risk stagnation. So, with a not-so-gentle nudge from a talented member of my writing group, I signed up for one day at The Muse. Daring myself further, I paid extra for a one-on-one with an agent, too.  

If you read my last post, you know I experienced a wee bit of anxiety leading up to this event. But in the end, I arrived to find a ballroom packed with agents, authors, editors and writers all there to network, to present or to learn and grow. Ahem. Not one of them was there to mock me. It can be said that I am often slow to the party and now, finally, I get it. What could be better than a day spent learning among like-minded people? Only one thing. Spending the day with like-minded people during which the Great-Liza-is-a-Fake boogeyman does not make an appearance. Apparently, he had something better to do.

So then, big gulp, it was time for me to meet with the agent to whom I’d sent my writing sample. In spite of the nail-biting lead up, would you believe that meeting was fun? She suggested a tweak to my query and asked some questions about my first twenty pages but the gist of it was, she called it a good story with authentic details. Twenty minutes were over in a snap and when the bell rang, she handed me her card and said, “Good job. Send me fifty pages, please.”

And folks, that little victory wouldn’t have happened if I hadn't taken the risk.

Thus, my message for IWSG this month. We can’t move forward unless we take the necessary steps. Push through your fear.  It will be worth it. For me? Attending the conference gave me confidence in my writing again. 

What are your writing fears? What has been the best thing about the conferences you've attended?

20 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

She requested fifty pages - that's awesome! Glad you stepped out and hit that conference.

Joanne said...

Hurrah! Fifty pages is awesome. Banish the naysay demons in the head and keep moving upward and onward. Fun!!!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Excellent, Liza! Keeping my fingers crossed for you for those 50 pages....

It's been awhile since I've been to a writing conference, but I remember it felt like finding your tribe. :)

Lee Lowery said...

A fifty-page ask is fantastic!

I try to go to a writer's conference once a year, as life permits. I love them because, as you found, the conferences are a gathering of our tribe. People who think like us, inspire us, understand our troubles, and have come to support each other as writers. Mockers would be shown the door immediately.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Congrats on the request for more.

So true if we don't take a step forward, the alternative is to freeze in place or go backwards. Those options do not move us forward.

Teresa

Sandra Hoover said...

Oh wow, Liza! That is so fantastic! I've also been a bit fearful of stepping outside my comfort zone and putting myself out there. I want you to know your post is an inspiration to me and I'm going to try looking for more opportunities to take a chance! Thanks, Liza!

Christine Rains said...

That is awesome! A lot of us writers are introverts and afraid of stepping out of comfort zones. I've done things that make me anxious and want to puke, but the experience was good.

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats on a great result from the meeting! Sometimes, we just have to put ourselves out there and see what happens. Glad it paid off in this case.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yay! That's great that you had such a good conference experience and that the agent asked for more pages.

Sarah Foster said...

Wow, that's awesome! Glad you got a confidence boost from the experience!
Doing something like that sounds terrifying to me, but I guess for now I'll just keep using the "my book isn't finished" excuse...

Lynda R Young said...

Congrats for pushing through those fears.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Congratulations. I'm getting something ready to send out into the world, so I'm gathering my courage.

Jennifer Lane said...

What an inspiring post! Great job.

Fundy Blue said...

Way to go, Lisa! Your post is very powerful and inspiring. How exciting that you get to submit 50 pages. Wishing you lots of success as you do so!

SmartCric live said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth said...

Fear can be crippling. Since writing my last novel, I've hit a few walls here and there. I have been a little discouraged, but rather than give up, I've been focusing on reading and reviewing other novels. I'm hoping that I'll gain some insight into story structure and voice as I go along and eventually, I can return to my WIPs, dust them off and pick up where I left off. Moving forward is essential to get anywhere! :)

Juneta key said...

Congratulations. You Go! Wahoo! Fear does hold me back but your post made me think Thank you. Happy IWSG.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Glad you were rewarded for taking the plunge and going to the conference. Fifty pages is really impressive! I’m so excited for you, Liza!

Julie

Connie said...

A request for 50 pages is fantastic! I hope it develops into more. Congratulations!!

Liz Hinds said...

Well done you! I think we all probably secretly believe we're frauds or failures so facing your fear is very brave. And well rewarded! Hope you keep that spectre away while you prepare your 50 pages for the agent. Don't chicken out!