What an incredible journey I had this last weekend at the Writers Digest Conference in New York City. I set off from Heathrow Airport, London, with more than a little trepidation at venturing so far alone. As I sat on the plane for the 8 hour journey (no idea why it only took just under 6 hours flying home although the pilot clearly floored the accelerator pedal!) I mentally kicked myself. Janey, this is just another crazy thing in the long list of craziness that is your life. Just like flying to Borneo last year to trek through the jungle and stay with the Iban people. I had sat on that super long flight wishing I could have the plane turn around and go home, yet it proved to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. This trip was no different albeit with fewer deadly snakes and spiders and a diet that didn’t consist of monkey and rat!
What I discovered was a wealth of writing education and inspirational talks amongst like minded people, in a fabulous environment of the Roosevelt Hotel. I clung to every word uttered by best selling authors, dreaming that one day I could have a tenth of their success and talent. Then it sank in that they too were once where the 5 or 600 of us sat, at the start of their writing journeys and everyone seemed to agree that they felt motivated and inspired to return home and write – and to produce the very best work that we are capable of.
The most terrifying and exciting element of the conference was for me the agent pitch slam. I described it as speed dating for writers; with just 90 seconds to pitch my books but no guarantee we’d click and date 😉 Each of the 6 agents I pitched was charming and encouraging so now begins the follow up – sending out 5 partial and one full manuscript. I have a favourite whom I’d love to work with but I’ll keep that a secret for now.
I can’t deny I was star struck by the awesome, hugely talented, witty (and yes tall, handsome) Harlan Coben and his signed novel ‘Missing You’ now has pride of place on my bookshelf.
So here I am back in England with a fresh spring in my pen and a renewed hunger to succeed in my writing dream. I can’t wait for next year’s conference …