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  • Writer's pictureL.M. Pierce

Pacific Northwest Writers Conference 2016

I attended my first writer's conference! How fortunate I am to have one of the best conferences in the nation right in my backyard--in this case, in Seatac at the Double Tree Hotel. Now that I've successfully completed one conference, I think I'm hooked. The process of scouring more possible conferences to attend has begun, although I'm trying to tamper my excitement because...

Trans Liberty Riot Brigade needs my attention!

I pitched TLRB at the conference and had very positive response and interest in the manuscript. Cue panic. Because it's one thing to have a great premise, it's another to have the skill and gumption to execute it with style. Thankfully the first page of TLRB was pulled and read during the "First Page" workshop, chaired by Don Maass, Chip MacGregor, Elizabeth Wales, and Quressa Robinson. Their feedback was invaluable and helped me really center myself in the tone of my book. It also gave me a much needed dose of confidence that a) the beginning does hook and b) my writing is good. Of course, I like to think I already knew that but self-doubt is a tricky, sneaky thing. So every little bit helps.

But beyond the excitement of pitching my manuscript to agents and editors, I met and made so many new writer friends. It is astounding and overwhelming to marinate in such a soup of bustling energy and enthusiasm for an activity that often requires of us a continuous type of solitude. I am fortunate to have a very active writer's group I am a part of, but many writers don't have that and the tone of a conference is very different than a critique group in a Barnes & Noble. It's... electrifying. People from all over the coast appeared and I have continued my connections with several people from Alaska, California, and of course, in Washington state. These connections are already proving to be immense in their support and dedication to mutual cheerleading as we all progress in our careers.

So was the conference a success? Beyond my wildest expectations. It also taught me a lot about "where I'm at" as a writer, which is pretty stinking close to publication I think. My decade of writing has taught me a lot and this conference continued by teaching me about the industry, the people who populate it, and the many ways to improve your own marketability as a writer and as an "author brand." See? Fancy jargon already!

And even with all this, I can see so much more I can learn. So, while my husband isn't ready to let me up and quit school and my day job, he has thrown his weight behind me (he's been supporting me this whole time) in helping me progress towards my goals. I feel insanely fortunate to be surrounded by such warmth, support, and encouragement. For the first time since childhood I can definitely look in the mirror and say: "Yes, you are a writer. And a good one too."

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