This week, I will be attending the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Writer’s Conference for the second time. I joined the PNWA three years ago when I got serious about writing. The association provides many resources to help writer’s learn and make the right connections in the industry. Its annual conference is one of the best according to what I’ve read. I haven’t widely attended other writer conferences, so I don’t really have much of a reference point, but I can say that the conference is flush with opportunities to learn and find an agent.
My favorite part of the conference is the “Pitch Block.” Pitch blocks are opportunities to meet with agents one-on-one and “pitch” your book. These meetings are invaluable opportunities to meet an agent and get a response on your project almost immediately. Even if you don’t ultimately land an agent through the pitches, you learn a lot from the experience. I enjoyed my last pitch block a couple of years ago. In the end, nothing came of it, but I learned more about pitching and what agents are looking for. I hope that helps me do better this time around.
Aside from the pitch sessions, there are numerous sessions about the writing craft. The chance to hear from agents, publishers, and fellow writers may be just the advantage you need to get over the hump of publication. It takes persistence to get published, so why not learn a lot along the way. I find the advice from those “in the know” is usually helpful, and at the very least, it gets me thinking in different ways.
All of that thinking reinvigorates my enthusiasm for pursuing publication. In many ways, my writing experience has been one of simply writing every day and experimenting with what works. I enjoy writing immensely and could continue doing it indefinitely even if I had no desire to publish, but I want to get my work out there, and if I’m going to do that, I need to work through the channels to make it happen. I haven’t spent even a fraction of the time necessary to get published. That needs to change.
By the end of the long four-day conference, I’ll likely come away with a bunch of ideas and a few more connections that will push me closer to my goal of being published. I know it’s only a matter of time, but everyone needs a little help now and then. This is my help. Wish me luck.