If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? --Albert Einstein

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Writer's High

Meeting authors, chatting with agents and editors, winning an award—all in Myrtle Beach! And the weather was exquisite. For writers, it was Nirvana. Last weekend I attended the 2012 South Carolina Writer’s Workshop Conference at the Hilton resort and I couldn’t have had a better time.

Friday night, my husband, Wendy, and I attended an outdoor reception where fellow Aiken critique group member, Steve Gordy, introduced me to published authors, agents, and best-selling writers of the future. Being naturally shy, this was a blessing. It is incredibly uplifting to speak with people who all share the same passion.
Soon we filed into the banquet where I was awarded first place in the Novel First Chapter category of the Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Award. I am humbled by and proud of this honor. This year, they included the winning pieces from all categories in the annual anthology, The Petigru Review. It was a thrill to see my writing in print.

I was also excited to meet one of the judges of the competition, Barbara Claypole-White, an enthusiastic writer who offered me a tremendous amount of encouragement. Her book, An Unfinished Garden, just came out in August and is wonderful. Watch this blog for my review.
Each time I go to a conference, I like to “stretch” myself and this time I chose to make a pitch for my book to an editor. The conference scheduled a slot for me for ten dollars, a bargain for such an opportunity.
To pitch, you’re expected to excite an industry professional with your book idea in a one- or two-sentence summary, hopefully delivered from memory. I was a nervous wreck. Wendy drilled me throughout the four-hour drive to Myrtle Beach and at random times after we arrived.

Finally my 2:15 appointment arrived. After a minimal amount of small talk (too nervous), I blurted my spiel, hopefully not too fast. Nothing actually came of it, but I DID IT. Later that night, Wendy and I celebrated with a bottle of Asti Spumanti.
I am greatly encouraged by two agents who invited me to send them my book for their consideration. It’s not quite ready, but I am pounding the keys. A door has opened and I’m determined to walk right through.

Shameless plug: Search for The Petigru Review Volume 6 or click here to order a copy for $9.99.

NOTE: If you're a writer from South Carolina, look into the SCWW. This organization has schooled me, guided me, and encouraged me. 

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