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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…”


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?