Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Writer's Conference

Today I drove my beautiful new little white car over gorgeous New England rustic fall roads through valley and mountain and into a college conference center. I told my friend whom I met there, "I feel so anxious coming here."

"You're one of the most poised and centered people I know," she said. "How can you be anxious?"

Well, it was easy to be anxious, especially when someone thinks you are behaving out of character but you know that you're not!

Friend and I sat in a corner watching hordes of writers stroll around the reception area. They looked sleek and clean, wearing new clothes in rich maroons and golds. They munched on danish and chatted about their contracts until time to go down to the room full of chairs and hear successful novelists talk about how hard it was for them until they finally got on the N.Y. Times best seller list.

After that panel came a speech from a N.Y. agent who explained that you're really a small business and the agent is a venture capitalist and every writer thinks she's going to be like D.H. Lawrence but you can't. You have to learn "pitchcraft."

After lunch I fled, in my pretty new car; did not stay for the inside secrets of editors or the revise-and-shape workshop or the door prize. I drove back through the gorgeous country and valley and then ran inside my hallway and called my dog and dropped the mail and bags and coats all over the floor.

"All writers hate selling," the agent's words were ringing in my ears, "but you have to do it." I admire them all so much, but I just don't think I can.

After re-writing my query letter according to "pitchcraft," I ate the rest of a tube of Pringles and a bunch of stale cookies I found in the fridge. Then the dog and I climbed upstairs to bed. This must be the writing life.


Anonymous DonaFrog said...

Even the word itself, "pitchcraft," makes me feel a little nauseus. Writing is a very intimate process and "pitching" what you have produced must feel a little bit like prostitution. Writing reveals so much of the writer that it somestimes feels like being stripped bare. It is one thing to share with others who care but it is quite another to reveal one's self with strangers.
I have alwlays encouraged you to write because you are so good at it, and I will continue to encourage you to write but I think I do understand your discomfort. I am even afraid to write a blog!

6:41 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

I think I meant J.D. Salinger.

9:52 AM  

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