Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My PPWC Top 10 by MK Meredith

I attended the 2012 Pikes Peak Writers Conference and thought I’d share my favorite top 10.  First of all, I have to say that I had an amazing weekend.  Not only did I attend, but I immersed myself in volunteer opportunities as well.  If you are ever able to volunteer, do it.  You won’t regret it.  Volunteering made me a part of this living, breathing event which increased the joy of my experience.

10.  Keynote Speakers:  There is something quite magical about listening to private anecdotes and personal experiences of those we aspire to emulate professionally.  This year, we were honored with Donald Maass, Robert Crais, Jeffrey Deaver, Susan Wiggs, and Kristin Nelson as our keynote speakers.  Each offered advice, stories of their beginnings, their today, and what they hope for tomorrow.  Some shared very intimate details that made our hearts ache, and others shared comical excerpts of their career, which allowed us to see that, at one time, they were just like us.  They were new writers with a dream to write for a living, to pull readers along in a story in which they would ride an emotional rollercoaster and want more.  I left with a little something extra after listening to each speech—motivation to write.

9.  Recognition:  I think it is lovely to recognize writers who have accomplished milestones in their careers.  Whether selling a book, winning or placing in a contest, having a successful pitch, or a successful read and critique; PPWC was there offering congratulations, applause, center stage acknowledgement and more.  Writers were given recognition for their hard work, sacrifice, determination and dedication.  Recognizing success is powerful for those receiving it and for those witnessing it.  More motivation to write.

8.  Networking:  I love meeting other writers and anyone having anything to do with writing.  PPWC offered so many networking opportunities from the workshops, to meals, to free time out at the bar and lounge.  Everyone there was in the writing frame of mind and eager to talk ‘shop’, which was a delight. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people who ask me about writing and then proceed to fall into a stupor with eyes glazed over and drool pooled at the corners of their mouths.  But at PPWC the chance to share stories, hardships, and successes with fellow writers accomplished a very important thing—more motivation to write.

7.  Learning:  One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was from Cheryl St. John, a multi-published (40 plus novels) romance writer.  She said the most important thing for a writer to do is be a student.  A life long student.  Don’t ever stop learning, improving upon your craft, understanding the business of writing, marketing and publishing.  PPWC didn’t let me down.  I attended or moderating workshops from the craft of writing to having a novel career.  They offered workshops on marketing, publishing, genre specific workshops, synopsis, query writing, and much more.  Which, in the end, had very positive results—more motivation to write!

6.  Multiple Genres:  I write contemporary romance.  I also write paranormal fiction and I have a non-fiction project.  It didn’t matter.  Not one bit.  PPWC delivered on all accounts.  I had craft workshops that fit each genre, as well as, industry advice pertaining to each.  There was no censure, no raised eye-brows or long looks down up-turned noses.  I was a writer amongst writers and we all wanted to write.  It didn’t matter what.  In turn, I found more motivation to write.

5.  Opportunity:  The opportunities at PPWC were immense.  Learning opportunities, networking opportunities, growing your market and simply the opportunity to create a name for yourself, presented around every corner.  From the workshops, to the meals, to the after hour conversations, there were moments upon moments of opportunities to grow a little more.  You were only limited by one thing.  Yourself.  And in the end, this energy, this potential, gave me more motivation to write.

4.  Inspiration:  Something writers seek on a day-to-day basis, consciously or not, is inspiration.  It was impossible not to find it at PPWC.  I heard stories of success, heartbreak, failure and joy.  I met character upon character, everywhere I turned.  I found myself absorbing the sounds, sights and scents of the conference, tucking them away in my vault to pull from when knuckles deep in my manuscripts.  It is hard not to be inspired by a story that sounds similar to your own, and when the end of the story is a publishing contract, you are able to see yourself accomplishing the same thing.  Maybe, just maybe, I can actually do this.  And you know what that inspiration does for me?  You guessed it!  Inspiration provides me with more motivation to write.

3.  Agent/Editor Accessibility:  PPWC is one of the most accessible conferences when is comes to agents and editors.  There are some conferences you may attend where those that we wish to partner us in our career are kept behind well guarded and locked doors.  At PPWC, they walked with us, learned with us, and ate with us.  The agents and editors graciously opened themselves up to pitch after pitch and discussion after discussion about our projects, the business and the craft.  Of course this gave me more motivation to write.   

2.  Connections:  Now, some of you may think that this is similar to networking, but for me it is different.  I’m not talking about connections in the business that can set you up for increased opportunity, learning or career direction, but friendship, kindred spirits, a chance to meet like-minded people who get why you do what you do and how that makes you special.  You will make life-long friendships with those who will celebrate your successes and encourage you through your attempts.  And you can’t tell me that does not make you more motivated to write!

1.  Nice:  Seriously, I can’t express fully how incredibly nice everyone was at PPWC.  The staff, attendees, agent, editors and authors all created an atmosphere of unity. We all had a similar goal, and each of us wanted the other’s success as well as our own.   Everywhere you looked was a friendly face and an invitation.  I floated through this conference on a high filled with excitement, gratitude, anticipation, and left Sunday in a contented state of exhaustion.  It was wonderful to be part of something that was so nice and that gave me more motivation to write. 
Because in the end, isn’t that why we were all there?

About the Writer: MK Meredith is an aspiring author who resides in the beautiful landscapes of Colorado with her two beautiful children, her exceptional husband, and their two big fur-babies (a Doberman named Niku and Lab-mix named Bella).  She finds inspiration everywhere she looks and listens.  Her goals are to be a great role model for her children, to one day thank her husband for his never ending support by getting published, and to always try to be nice—it’s just the right thing to do.