Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Now what?

Photo by Leona St. Louis

By Ronda Simmons

It's conference season. Maybe you hit NCW's Writer Conference Extraordinaire. Perhaps you attended Denver's Comic Con, not really a conference, but chock full of writing seminars. Or you may be heading to New York in August to tackle the mac daddy Writer's Digest Conference. 

Picture this. You've just returned home from a writing conference. You met cool people, attended awesome sessions, and maybe even you pitched your latest masterpiece.

Now what?

Here are some essential steps to take after a conference:

  • Write thank yous. Send a thank you to the agents you pitched, the presenters you enjoyed and, of course, the conference staff who worked so hard to organize the event. I would also suggest that you go the extra mile and write quick messages to the other writers you met and maybe even those that you only see once a year. These people are your tribe. Consider, at the very least, following them on Twitter or friending them on Facebook. 
    A fountain pen next to a red thank you card

  • Organize your receipts. When Uncle Sam comes knocking next April you'll be glad you did this. There are some links below with more information on what is allowed and what is not. (Bear in mind that I am in no way qualified to give legal advice!) Even if you don't itemize your taxes, these receipts could be invaluable when your manuscript gets picked up by one of the Big Five publishers. 

Death and Taxes, baby, they come to us all

  • Organize your conference notes. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and read through them. More than likely you jotted down websites to look up, books to check out of the library and suggestions that will make your novel soar. Don't lose that information. 
Vinyl records lined up on the shelf of a music store

  • Take the NCW's post-conference survey. April Moore and the rest of the NCW staff will soon be planning next year's conference. Let them know what you liked, and any suggestions you have that could have made the weekend even better. Don't worry if you think your input is too late, any feedback is valuable.

A number of Japanese maneki-neko figurines depicting a beckoning white cat
Everyone who loved the 2018 NCW Conference, raise your hand!

Conferences are hard work. Take the time you need to recover, then get back to work!

A macro view of a cocktail whiskey drink in a glass cup
The struggle is real, recover any way you want to!

For more on this topic, check out the following:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Coping with Impostor Syndrome

by Laura Mahal

Most of us, at some point, doubt our abilities—as artists, athletes, parents, or community leaders—causing us to experience something known as “Impostor Syndrome.” 

We wonder if we deserve the accolades rained upon us . . . Are we, in fact, nothing but a fraud? A shyster, who has managed to convince others that we’re more than we can ever hope to be? 

It’s a common enough feeling. Statistically, seventy percent of us will experience this in our lifetimes. 

Courtesy of

Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. I have written eleven books, but each time I think, "Uh oh, they're going to find me out."

--- Maya Angelou

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Juggling two novels at the same time?

By Eleanor Shelton

I’m 55,000 words into novel number two of a thriller series, first draft, some good, some crap. Novel number one is currently being shopped around by my agent. This phase of number two is the just-get-some-semblance-of-a-story-down-so-we-can-move-on-to-making-it-much-better, please, phase. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Shameless Self-Promotion

By David E. Sharp

While attending the recent NCW writing conference, I heard first-hand advice from an independent editor. He spoke about the kinds of submissions he receives from writers and what does or does not "sell" a manuscript.

It seems writers are a humble bunch. He explained they often fail to mention why their writing should be of interest to him. For instance, the author of a manuscript for a police procedural should say she has been a homicide detective for thirty years. And yet...

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Why I Write

By Jason Meadors    

When it flows for me.

When the epiphany first hits, I can't trust it's going to stick or come again later, although sometimes that does happen. I have to write it down. For ideas in the shower, this can get a little awkward. 

And then inspiration hits, an intriguing twist, the link that brings scenes
together, that burst of a surprise for an ending. It's an awesome feeling.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Post-Conference Hangover: It's Real, People

A Conversation with Ronda Simmons and JC Lynne

We're all recovering from the NCW Conference in our different ways. During the opening schpeel, we offer advice on how to navigate the information overload, and we see people think, "Not going to happen." It isn't long before those 1000 yard stares start. It's fabulous and exhausting and reinvigorating. 

We may be biased, but it was said in multiple conversations how intimate and welcoming the NCW Conference is compared to others. We hope you all came away with some golden nugget to inspire your writing and we can't wait to see you next year. 

For now, I decided to parse with my pal, Ronda to help break down some of the overload. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk

By Ronda Simmons

Or how to attend a writing conference and not feel like a total newb.

JC Lynne and I were talking about our first writing conferences the other day. She mentioned how intimidated she was when she attended her first conference because, for one thing, she didn’t understand the lingo.

I wouldn’t have even gone to my first conference if other newbies hadn't talked me into it. Even though I was amongst friends, I was out of my element.

For those of you first timers at The NCW Writers Conference, or those of you veterans who've never felt comfortable, this post is a primer. Check yourself in the mirror. Memorize a few simple acronyms, and you’ll be feeling savage. 

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