Linda Taylor is a thirty-year veteran of the publishing industry. She’s a writer, but has a special place in her heart for editing and proofreading. She just completed her master’s degree in English at Ball State, serves on the MWW board, and teaches adjunct classes at Taylor University in the professional writing department. You can connect with her on LinkedIn (Linda Chaffee Taylor), Twitter @LindaEdits, and by way of her blog where she often writes about the wonderful worlds of writing, editing, and grammar!
So I know what you’re thinking, “Hmmm, can I really afford the time [or money] to attend this year’s Midwest Writers Workshop?”
Look, we all need a little bit of a pick-me-up in our writing lives. We need the encouragement that comes from gathering with fellow writers and swapping war stories and epiphanies.
We need one another.
Sure, you can do that connecting virtually. But there’s something about, you know, just getting together in one (really nice) location. There’s something to be said for that personal touch, getting to talk and laugh with other writers face to face.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a local writers group that meets regularly, give those folks a big hug next time you’re together. Many writers are laboring away alone because they haven’t been able to locate a group with whom they can connect. Hey, if it was good enough for C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien to meet with others in a group called the Inklings and read one another’s work, it’s certainly good enough for us!
As a member on the board for the Midwest Writers Workshop, I’ve so enjoyed watching my committee members in action. They work hard to bring in agents who are eager to hear pitches and faculty who can teach about a variety of genres. Last year we expanded our social media training module to help writers increase their presence by building a website and using other social media. Several really awesome Ball State University students gave 50-minute tutorials to eager writers. Some of our older attendees just need a little guiding hand to help them get over the hump and engage in the online world. Others had specific questions that the students researched before the conference and gave the advice and answers in the private session.
It was totally awesome.
And so we’re doing it again this year. Why? Because helping writers is what we do.
Many of our attendees go away having found new tribespeople, maybe even discovering folks in their own backyard with whom they can meet regularly for reading, critiquing, and encouragement.
At MWW, faculty teach about the craft of writing. If you need improvement, sign up for a session where a faculty member will discuss how to pace your plot (if that’s your problem), or how to create strong characters, or how to build a scene, or how to write dialog. These folks come to help the likes of you–of all of us. Take advantage of their expertise. These authors have been where you are now—and they know how you’re feeling. They want to help you. They want to share with you what they’ve learned along the way.
And literary agents love to come to our conference. And we love to have them. Take the opportunity to learn from them about the publishing world and even make an appointment to talk about that manuscript you’re working on. They will offer you invaluable advice.
Yes, you can afford to come.
For your writing life, you can’t afford not to.