Sunday, May 18, 2014

NESCBWI 2014 & Meeting CPs IRL

If you read my first post, you know that I recently went to my second NESCBWI conference. This post was going to be about the conference, but I think other people have blogged about NESCBWI 2014 better than I could…so this may turn into a post about something else. We'll see!

In my daily life, I don't talk about writing with other people. Only a few select people know that I write (and even less know I'm a querying writer). I think a lot of other writers are the same way. Most people don't understand the publication process and everything that goes along with it, so it's hard to talk to non-writers (even friends and family) about the things you're going through. (Things like: form rejections, no responses, or your MC being difficult and not doing what she's supposed to do.)

This is what makes writers' conferences so much fun. You're surrounded by your peers, by people who know what you're going through. You can commiserate about the querying process and share tips and tricks. There's nothing better than talking to other writers.

Well, almost nothing. The one thing that's even better is getting the chance to talk face-to-face with online critique partners--people who have actually read your manuscript! CPs have fallen in love with your characters, told you when they hate your MC, helped you fix a previously unsolvable problem, been a personal sounding board for you, etc.

I finally had the chance to meet one of mine at the conference. I made plans with Julie Dao, my Pitch Wars teammate and critique partner, to go to the NESCBWI conference. She'd never been before, and we thought it would be a great opportunity for us to meet there. It was so awesome to finally meet in person. (Julie's the first writer friend that I've ever met IN REAL LIFE.)

We met on Friday afternoon in the hotel lobby. There was lots of smiling and hugging! After saying hello, we went in search of a Starbucks so we could sit and chat. Even though I was pretty sure there was a Starbucks around somewhere, we couldn't find one. We ended up going to a coffee shop that was in the mall across the street from the hotel instead. Because we had SO MUCH that we wanted to say, we started laughing, not knowing where to even start.  The time flew by. It was so easy to talk to each other and to talk about our manuscripts. It was so freeing, so cool, to be able to talk about our characters (in depth) with someone else who had read our stories. After coffee, we continued talking at dinner. (Julie made reservations at Nadim's, which was right near the hotel.)

Later that night, there was a Meet and Greet for the conference attendees in the hotel. I'd been too chicken to go by myself the previous year but this year, with Julie by my side, I wasn't as nervous! I didn't speak with any agents, but Julie was able to talk with an agent who has her full manuscript. It was awesome to see her so excited! I didn't speak to any agents, but I did run into a friend from Twitter, Emily Kate Muyskens. (Emily and I had met online through Cupid's Literary Connection's Blind Speed Dating Contest.) She was super-sweet and Julie and I met up with her again on Saturday.

Julie and I signed up for the same workshops on Saturday (Manuscript Revisions with Mandy Hubbard and Write What You Don't Know with Julie Berry and Kendra Levin). We both had great manuscript critiques. (Mine was with an agent and hers was with an editor.) Overall, it was a great time!

How about you? Have you ever met online critique partners IN REAL LIFE?

1 comment:

  1. Seems like you had a GRRREAT time at the conference! I'm part of a critique group for writers and illustrators so I get to meet them one or twice a month. The group is pretty big and I'm also new at this so I haven't found a CP that I connect with yet. I heard that it's like dating, gotta find the RIGHT one. Good luck with everything! ^_^