It may come as no surprise, but narrowing down my experience at the writer’s conference to one major lesson, or even a few, has proved to be rather challenging. So I’ve put together a list of the most important things I learned.
1. How to deal with rejection. This can actually apply to more than just writing, as can a lot of the things I learned. One of the many speakers, Tim Burns, said something that really stuck with me. “Failure is not a person, it’s an event.” Many of the speakers talked about the importance of realizing that rejection does not reflect on you personally. It can be hard to separate yourself from your work, but often rejection simply happens because the work does not fit the place it was submitted to.
2. Dealing with writer’s block. This can be a touchy subject as there is a camp of writer’s who don’t believe that writer’s block exist.The general consensus of most writers I’ve heard talk about this is to take a break, take a walk, and work somewhere else. All those things can get your creative juices flowing. It’s also a good idea to have a friend to talk things out with or bounce ideas off of.
3. Find a group of writers to join. There is nothing more encouraging than a group of people who can understand exactly what you are dealing with. They can provide valuable insight, constructive criticism, and a safe place to vent. After all, who else would understand the argument an author is having with a character except another author?
4. Never be afraid to write. A story that is badly written can be improved upon, but a story that goes untold is simply a missed opportunity. It can be tempting to wait until the story is ‘perfect’ in your mind before writing it, but that unfortunately happens only rarely. Writing is hard work; writing, editing, revising, rewriting, and repeating.
5. When all else fails, remember who’s really writing the story. Every writer faces discouragement. When you think your story isn’t good enough, or that you aren’t doing it justice, or when the rejection slips pile up, remember that this is God’s work. He has a plan for your writing and if the story needs to be told, He will provide a way to do so.
So yeah! I learned a lot in the last week. Feel free to ask me questions about my experience!