Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wycoff: Why Attend a Writers' Conference?

Guest Post: Start your writers' conference learning now with a series of guest blog posts from some of the conference faculty. This guest post comes from Joyce Wycoff, conference program guide, author of a young adult fantasy novella, Sarana’s Gift and a specialty journal, Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything!

Why attend a writers' conference?

One answer I've heard repeatedly from agents, editors and publishers is that they respect writers who attend writers' conferences. In their minds, conference attendees are in the top 10% of writers because they are actively learning their craft, getting professional feedback, and building their writing network.

Simply attending a writers' conference won't make you a published, successful author, but it is an important part of the development of your craft. Writing conferences can help you ...
Free to all attendees
  • learn more about the craft of writing and how to market your work in this new world of publishing ...
  • connect with people who understand the challenges and joys of the writing life ...
  • meet agents, editors, and publishers who can help your work go forth into the world ...
  • renew your energy and inspiration.
To help you on this journey, Sierra Writers' Conference is making a new tool available to you ... a learning journal to help you do all of the above more effectively ... by knowing what to do
Before - During - After
the conference

 to take your writing to the next level.

What is a Learning Journal? 

A learning journal guides you through the four steps needed for success:
  1. Create an energizing vision of what you want.
  2. Identify the persistent actions that will move you toward your vision.
  3. Build confidence that your vision can become reality.
  4. Seek specific, objective feedback to help you adjust your persistent actions in order to stay on target with your vision. 
Maya Angelou once said: "If one is lucky, a single fantasy can totally transform a million realities." That's the power of vision: a possibility or end result that’s bigger, more appealing, more delicious than the reality of today.
For instance: knowing what you want from a conference, such as connecting with an agent, is the first step in making that happen.
Neale Donald Walsh tells us "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." Taking persistent actions toward our vision requires doing new or different things … moving out of our zones of comfort, i.e. into discomfort, and tolerating the discomfort long enough to achieve the vision.
For instance: writing a novel or an article when you have no idea if anyone will read it or if it will be any "good" requires persistent action, often over long periods of time.
Everyone knows that J.K. Rowling was rejected a dozen times before Harry Potter found favor (in the eyes of an eight-year-old girl). Those stories are endless. Without confidence, belief that our vision is a possible reality, we would not have the ability to tolerate the zone of discomfort long enough to reach our destination.
For instance:  we must believe that our story, our work has an important message and deserves to be out in the world helping people.
Even Elon Musk, acknowledged genius of Tesla Motors believes that feedback: receiving specific, objective information about the effectiveness of our actions, is the critical factor in being able to Confidently adjust our Persistent Actions toward our Vision.
For instance: Hire an objective, high quality editor or coach to help polish our work. Take the recommendations and make them work within the boundaries of our creative vision.
For more about how to get the most out of a writers' conference, please go to Writers' Conference Gold.
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  1. I can make good use of a learning journal, so I'm glad I was directed to your blog. But I got here from the "MORE INFO HERE -- Remember: First Sentence Contest - For Early Birds Only!" link on the 2016 Sierra Writer's Conference ticket page and don't see any info for the first sentence contest. How do I get there?

  2. Janet ... sorry for the trouble. Info about the First Sentence Contest has been moved to the page "Extras" ...

    Hope to see you in January!!