“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
If you know any writers, you can ask them if that quote applies to their experience – be ready for a lengthy story. If you are a writer, you’ve already swallowed that quote, and it’s resting in your core as you read this post.
On any journey, you’ll need help. You’ll need a strategy, nourishment, and motivation. The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference will offer such provisions as you are starting or continuing a journey towards your noble writing goal.
After attending the PWC for three straight years, I can say that it offers great opportunities to meet professionals who can help you find your way. I remember sitting down with multiple literary agents, picking their brains about my subsequent steps. One agent suggested submitting articles for magazines to build a resume. A year later, I was published in the NEA Today. See! They know their stuff. Not ready to sit down with the bigwigs? Spark a conversation with a fellow writer who may have some valuable advice based on experience. There are plenty of chances to chat with interesting writers with various backgrounds, so listen to their successes and pitfalls, borrow their ideas, and develop your strategic path.
While a strategy on how to navigate unfamiliar territory in the writing world is necessary, so is feeding your mind along the way. How can we grow as writers if we don’t consume better ways to write? Because the PWC offers a plethora of workshops, you have options on how to refine your technique and prose. Not one class in three years has let me down. Each instructor/presenter was friendly and helpful. From Gregory Frost to Solomon Jones, I picked up great tips on developing characters and short story writing. From Carla Spataro and Patti Mengers, I tucked away nuggets of knowledge about flash fiction and journalism. Of course, from Mr. Prolific himself, Jonathan Maberry, I learned that being a writer involves so much more than typing words on a computer. I could go on and on, but I have one final item to cover.
Motivation, for some writers, provides a jolt the moment they wake up. For others, the loneliness of writing, itself, makes our journey daunting, and motivation finds it harder to tap us on the shoulder. What I gained each year from my PWC experiences was an accumulation of writing friends and acquaintances. From so many genres, I met passionate writers with some serious motors getting them from A to B in the writing business. Why not let inspiration from others elevate your spirit and open your mind to a world of writing possibilities? There, you’ll be motivated by poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, editors, agents, and even publishers. I remember being inspired by so many writers with talent and experience, I could not wait to get home each night and dive into the tasks our instructors assigned. Even when the PWC ends, who says the friendships have to end? As a result of all the networking I did, I’ve visited writing sessions, joined writing groups, attended book releases, and even shared occasional restaurant meals with new writing friends. Why even attempt the journey alone when enrichment comes in the presence of others?
A FEW TIPS WHEN YOU ATTEND THE PWC:
- Go to lunch with other writers!
- Swap business cards. Follow up! Follow each other on social media.
- Be a magnet and leave a lasting impression on people.
- Never criticize with contempt – you never know who knows who!
- Don’t be intimidated by the vast numbers of aspiring writers. We are not crabs in a barrel. We’re more like tadpoles in a bucket trying to develop so we can leap out on our own, someday.
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