Wordy Wednesday (“Writer’s Digest Conference 2013, Notes Part 4”)

Goodness, I feel like I have an affinity for feeling like crap, lately. I was sick last week, I had a really wretched headache a couple of days ago, and today I’ve basically just been lying in bed, popping Tylenol and attempting to sleep. And it’s stupid, because I actually feel guilty right now for feeling so crappy, because I’m a baby when it comes to all this sick-kind-of-stuff, and therefore I basically just shut down for the day the moment I feel bad AT ALL.

Which means I have turned into a unproductive slug this past week. And I have so much to do right now (namely trying to find a way to make space for all my college stuff, plus cleaning my Hoarders-worthy bedroom, plus actually, you know, WRITING). And instead of doing any of that, I’ve just been sleeping for thirteen hours a day and filling the rest of my time with HGTV.

In the small pockets of time that I have been productive during the past week, I have done the following things:

  • Fed the cat. Played with the dog. Neither of which are actually very productive activities (they just make me feel like I’m doing something).
  • Done the dishes/cleaned the kitchen/cleaned the bathroom (these are my excuses for not doing anything that actually needs to get done).
  • Read writing from back in middle school (I have a sincere fascination with the way I actually have basically not improved at writing at all since the seventh grade).
  • Eaten lots of really bad foods. Like donuts and pizza and other greasy things (I tried to eat a salad last night… “tried” being the operative word).
  • Dyed my hair. (You voted. It happened.)

Snapshot_20130507_13Unfortunately, this one act of productiveness has led to a severe increase in the number of times per day I burst out in song instead of doing other productive activities, because I like to pretend I look like the Little Mermaid now.

But anyway, I’m going to stop boring you with my state of slug-ness now, and actually let’cha get to what you came for: the final installment of my Writer’s Digest Conference East 2013 notes. Yay!

If you haven’t read my notes from the past few weeks, you can check them out by following the following links:

Part 1: Going from Aspiring Writer to Published Author

Part 2: Publishing Short Stories

Part 3: Perfecting Your Craft

This week’s topic is Keynote Addresses of Greatness. I say “of greatness” because they were all basically totally awesome–hopefully my notes detailing them manage to inspire you even a smidgen of the amount I was inspired by the speakers in person.

(Unfortunately, though, I don’t have any notes on the Opening Keynote Address from Friday evening, with James Scott Bell, because we got to the conference late despite our mad dash from the airport, and I couldn’t grab out my notebook to take notes without disturbing all the other writers in the room–and, believe me, those people have sharp pencils and an advanced knowledge of different ways of doing away with people. So I wasn’t going to rock the boat.)


Saturday Keynote Address [4-6-13]

Speaker: Adriana Trigiani

          Examine how books are displayed in the bookstore; check the agents of your favorite authors. Those are who you should be targeting.

          Your story is waiting to be read—it’s your job to get it read.

          Confidence comes from a stranger reading your book, not your friend.

          Find a writer’s group—but if there’s bad energy, get out.

          “You’re artists. Use your art.”

          Feel free to start your OWN writer’s group if yours is bad.

          You get one shot at this—you’ve gotta get it done

          You get discovered because you WANT to get discovered.

          If you want the lit world to invest in you, you have to invest attention in them—make friends with your indie bookstore owners, libraries, etc.

          It’s about the readers, not the Twitter followers

          The author is SERVING THE READER

          Playwriting—have to join drama guild, find a director who loves our work

          Fun fact: Sea green is the in color this year

          Titles are like shoes; you’ve gotta try a lot on before you find one that fits

          If you’re burning out, it’s because you’re working too much

          Revise at the end

          You’re young—look for the agent who is the older version of you

          “Words are living things.”


Closing Keynote Address [4-7-13]

Speaker: Tayari Jones

          You have EVERYTHING you need to be a writer

          Information is power—subscribe to all the writer mags

          Being a writer has NEVER been easy

          This business is for the persistent, inspired, brave, and crazy

          Being scared to chase your dreams, so you just don’t do anything instead, is “the emotional equivalent of looting in your own street.”

          “Once you commit to igniting your creativity and passion, doors will open for you.”

          You have to take chances—you have to be brave enough to take chances

          The writer’s life is seeing how good you are at rebuilding

          “The water has been spilled, but the pitcher isn’t broken”—there’s always more opportunity for the future.

          “Publish or perish”—motto for how to be an author

          You gotta get your work done—once you’ve done your part, the world will do the rest.

          The energy you put out there in life is the energy you get back

          Depending on proving the haters/detractors wrong in order to get your motivation is like eating candy for dinner—you’ll have energy for a minute, but then you’ll crash.

          “I want to be paid for my writing. We all do. But I don’t want to write for money.”

          Don’t be intimidated by anything, least of all your own career.

          Learn to love the challenges.

          You don’t need to have a lot of time to be a writer—you just need SOME time. You just need to TAKE the time.

          Set reasonable goals.

          MFA programs—go where you can get financial aid.

          Find a mentor. Best way to do that: be open to being a good mentee.

          Grants and awards like grants and awards; get one, and they build on one another.

          Check out “Grants and Awards Available to American Writers.”


… And that’s it! That’s all my notes! We’re finally finished!


I know. I never thought this day would come either.

You know what that means? It’s the return of our weekly Wordy Wednesday voting process! You know what to do.

Talk to you later!



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