Continuing education is part of most professions, and writing is no different. I love attending conferences for both of my jobs, and both for the same reason: leapfrogging.
Ordinary learning is step by step. You have an issue, so you try to find an answer. You look things up, or consult a resource. You try something and it works or it doesn’t. One way or another, you learn a new fact and apply it to the problem. It’s a tedious process, and you only learn the answer to the specific issue you were trying to solve.
Leapfrogging jumps straight over those steps. You aren’t looking for one single answer. You’re attending an educational event where answers are shared freely, to questions you have and to questions you didn’t even know to ask. Industry leaders just tell you things…secrets and tricks that make whatever you do better, easier, more current, and more relevant. At the end of the day you go home with a notebook full of knowledge, having leapfrogged in your study of whatever the lecture was about.
Today’s Indiana Writing Workshop was a serious leapfrog. Writing conferences generally feature two draws: speakers and pitch opportunities. There are actual agents there that you can schedule a ten-minute window to pitch your book. It’s how I originally connected with my amazing agent Alice Speilburg, and it’s a great opportunity for anyone who’s trying to get a manuscript represented.
Obviously I wasn’t pitching today, but one of my writing buddies did, and she got a request from one of her dream agents.
I went for the speakers, one of whom was…my amazing agent Alice Speilburg. She talked about the agenting process, what agents do and what they’re looking for, and her afternoon lecture was a leapfrog event on rewriting a manuscript based on reader feedback. She gave us revision tips equivalent to years of struggling alone, trying to figure out how to make sense of the comments our beloved beta readers give.
Marissa Corvisiero talked about publishing options, and about building an author platform with things like…blog posts. So…hi, everybody. Here’s a blog post.
Thanks to the workshop coordinators, attending agents, and a big hello to all my new writer friends out there.
Keep leapfrogging. The next jump could land you somewhere wonderful.