This is the year I’ve been shuffle crawling out of my writing cave. I’m dragging my piles of papers and files with me and bringing them out into the light where I’m letting other people look at them. I’m cringing while reading dialogue I wrote out loud and I’m working on my craft in my Hermit’s Journey to get published. It’s an epic quest of posting snippets and queries and then racing away from the computer because I’m DYING.
It’s a strange affair for an introvert who wears her trashy sunglasses like armor in an effort to avoid eye contact, but I’m doing it. I’m doing it hard. I’m posting and I’m replying and suddenly I’m getting this thing called feedback. And it’s good. It’s really good. AND THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW ME. They could say whatever the hell they want to, but instead they are actively reading something I wrote and then thoughtfully replying and suddenly I’m over here NOT running away from the computer, but instead absorbing all their words and ideas and I’m looking at a sharper query. The one I couldn’t get to, because sometimes our own words become bricks that pile up and before we know it we’re standing inside a chimney we built ourselves wondering how the hell to get out of here. But that’s the thing about doing something that is essentially isolating and all in your own head. You need to get out. You need to shuffle crawl the hell out of your cave and bring the papers with you. You need to get some sun, Hermit Girl.
And that’s been WriteOnCon for me.
My Twitter stream has been blowing up with information leading up to the start of the conference, and I vaguely remembered reading about it last year, but I was so deep into the cave then I was starting to grow scales. This time I wanted to get out there and be with my people. I wanted to be accountable. I am here, hear me roar. Like, pump up the Katy Perry and be the damn firework already.
WriteOnCon is amazing. It’s for the people by the people. According to their website:
WriteOnCon is an Online Children’s Writers Conference (rated MC-18, for Main Characters under 18 only) created by writers, for writers.
Who: That’s the best part—it’s for EVERYONE!
It is so inclusive and supportive and there’s just so much information and these ridiculously awesome opportunities like pitching your book over Twitter and watching the live reactions of agents and editors during a Google Hangout. There are articles and ninja agents leaping through the forum of queries and partials giving advice and making requests and it’s all…free. It’s hanging out alone by your locker and then hearing some noise and walking down the hall to find all these cool people hanging out and talking shop and wait a minute––those are professionals who do the job you doodle about hanging out with them and WHAT IS THIS MAGIC PLACE?
I joined the forum and posted my query. And the sun was so bright that I threw up an arm and thought, “No, no no no. My scales…THEY BURN. I’ve gotta get out of here.” And then I realized this pretty obvious thing: writers are awesome. They’re supportive and smart and they know what it’s like. They get it. They’re out there doing it, too. And the feedback I got for my query was like a chorus of angels and I thought, “YES. BURN BRIGHT, BABY! YOU’RE AN EFFING FIREWORK, G-D IT!” I posted my first 250 words and got more feedback and to finally have my work out there and to discuss it was such a revelation for me. THIS is why people tell you to join writer’s groups whether it’s online or your local RWA chapter or what have you. We need this. We need to gather around our fires and grunt and pass papers and files back and forth because when our words become bricks that start to pile around us, we need someone to knock it the hell down and remind us how to read the map in front of us or our Hermit Journey is never gonna get past the cave.
One of the coolest things that came out of this years conference was a fellow writer offering to draw other’s main characters. L.L. Tisdel is a writer who was getting her stuff out there just like the rest of us, but she went one giant leap forward and sketched these drawings for a bunch of us and I was lucky enough to get one! To have someone visualize Daisy and then put that picture to paper was beyond words for me.
I mean, amazing, right? All the little touches she considered along with the title and I am just so blown away by it and forever grateful.
So, I’m out of the cave. I’m strutting my stuff and getting a tan and while I’ll always need these ridiculous sunglasses, I’m pretty sure all the scales are gone now.