Monday, August 31, 2009

No Free Rides

Put me in your pocket. Really, I’ll find a way to shrink down. I won’t say much. I can be vewy vewy quiet. I just need one moment, one golden moment to spring from your pocket to present my pitch. Okay, clearly I’m being facetious and a tad silly. I’m not going to the upcoming conferences that my blogging friends are so joyfully writing about. However, I refuse to pout.

Instead I’m going to do everything in my financial power to further my writing career. I’ll give you two examples of things I did this weekend.

  1. I conducted research at the fair. One of the books I wrote, Beautiful Bovine called for me to describe oh, maybe a cow or two. At the fair I had dozens of cows to take pictures of and dozens of owners to answer my questions. The smells, sounds and sights surrounded me and I 100% took advantage of my location (so much so my husband had to come find me at one point and my daughter wondered why I’d been taking so many pictures of cows).

  2. I attended a book reading/signing. Jacqueline Sheehan, New York Times Bestselling author of Lost & Found and Now & Then, visited a local bookstore (I actually drove an hour) and graciously answered questions, read from her latest book and in the process couldn’t have been more cordial and kind. This outing meant a lot to me for several reasons. One, I escaped my house for a little while, leaving my husband with the girls. Two, I love books. Even more, I love people who are as in love with writing as I am. Hearing Jacqueline describe one of her characters as having “not a whisper of a callous on his hands” stuck with me. I left feeling encouraged and inspired, having connected with an intelligent writer.

Will I attend a conference someday? It’s likely. But for now, at this point in my life, I’m doing what I can to grow as a writer. I’m reading books on writing and well-written books, I’m researching, I’m studying agent blogs, I’m game for attending other book readings, but most of all I’m doing the one thing that will push me ahead most on this writing track—I’m writing.

There are no free rides. Much as I’d like to hop in your pocket and head to a conference, I really don’t have the ability to shrink. Why would I want to anyway? Quiet has never really been my thing. So, I’m investing in the resources I have.

I’m hoping to hear wonderful success stories of newly agented friends. I’ll celebrate with them.

One final thought: Upon entering the fair you pay to park, you pay to get in and you pay for tickets to ride the rides. Writing isn’t much different. In order to ride the ride, there’s a cost.

Are you doing all you can to grow as a writer? And is writing the most exciting ride for you? For me writing is the Ferris Wheel.

*photos by flickr
**I’m over at
Live Beautiful later today.


  1. Hey, Wendy!

    I'm so glad you had a great weekend! I've only attended one book signing in my life, but it was for my (then) favorite author in the whole world. Seeing her sitting there, surrounded by her books, was the greatest encouragement ever! I was so late that they almost closed the store, but that gave me one-on-one time with her. I still have that picture. It's a reminder to me that it is impossible and I need to keep believing in and working towards my dream.

  2. I'm not going to any conferences either. :( I like the way you are looking at this. I think I'll follow your lead and quit moping about the "no conference" thing and focus on doing what I can to improve my writing. Thanks for the nudge!

  3. Alas, I am not going either :( I will take you're cue however, and do brilliant and wonderful things beyond ordinary measures to boost my writing career. (heaven help me) I will be in New York that week, and our Father does specialize in miracles... perhaps I should brush up my elevator pitch as well!

  4. for me, reading helps me write! They go together like coffee and toast!

  5. I'm going to a conference in October, but writing and reading is the best thing to do as a writer. :)

  6. So cool that you got to go see and hear that writer! And very smart of you to pick up stuff at the fair. :-) I hope I'm doing everything I can. I know I won't be able to go to a conference every year, so I'm thankful I get to go now, but I hope that I would still be looking for ways to grow and learn in my everyday life.
    Good post!

  7. Don't you just love research? Mine has been research on the wine business, and I have to say, it's been fun! ;P

    I'm not going to any conferences either...and I am embracing the "no pouting" attitude as well. I'm thinking we need to pow-wow when you DO decide to go to a conference, because WE NEED TO MEET! ;)

    Write on, sister...write on!

  8. I love this thought! Writing, like anything else on a professional level, has a cost. I'm with you. Conferences aren't on my horizon for now, but there are other things we can do to get better as writers.

    *hugs research*

    *hugs Wendy for having such a great attitude*

  9. Your post reminds of one of Rachelle's posts last week about continuing to grow and learn as writers. We have to remember that if we're looking at writing as a professional career and more than just a hobby, then we'll have to start investing more and more. I guess we all have to know when it's time to begin raising the investment levels. I certainly didn't before this past year. I wasn't ready. But now I'm ready to take my career to the next level.

  10. Hi Wendy! You're post actually really encouraged me and I really appreciate it. I'm not going to this conference everyone is talking about either. It's even worse because it's only 30-40 minutes from my house. A wonderful opportunity. But it's just...not right for me now. Either because it's too far out of my comfort zone or that's just not my place right now. I still haven't figured it out yet. But either way, I'm still doing what I can to grow as a writer. And I can see progress.

    I LOVE that you're doing all these other things--writing, reading, researching. All these things count and make a huge difference.

    Thank you so much, Wendy!

  11. What an inspiring post, Wendy! I think we all have to raise the investment level at some point, but we can't rush any part of this process. I'm excited you had a great weekend. I've been watching for some book signings in my area that I want to attend, but nothing's peaked my interest lately. I need to look again.

  12. The book signing sounds amazing! I'm so glad you could spend some time just for you. I'm not attending any conferences in the near future, and frankly, I'm glad. I loved the conference I attended, but it's a lot of work for any mom to leave home for longer than a day!

  13. Kristen, that one-on-one time really is a rich reward, isn't it? With your favorite author, too.

    Lazy Writer, I'll nudge any ole time, as long as it comes with a laugh.

    T.Anne, Alas. I believe some of our finest moments will occur when we least expect them to.

    Lauren, a coffee cheers to THAT. Lately though, while reading my book I keep getting ideas so I've learned to keep my working journal nearby.

    Jennifer, I agree. Can't wait to hear about it!!!

    Jessica, you guys are pumping me up for my someday. At the fair I felt a little like Jesus explaining why he was at the temple to his parents. I felt like telling my husband, "Didn't you know, I needed to be with the cows?"
    *Clearly making a joke. I am humble enough to know that I'm a work in process. It was just a funny thought in my head.

    Beth, I can imagine. I like smooth and slightly fruity whites. Write on right back at ya!

    Danyelle, I'm lovin' the hugs. You are simply too good to me.

    Jody, I can tell that you are ready. I don't doubt I've taken cues from Rachelle's blog. She's a pillar of wisdom. Oh, I like that. Maybe someday someone will say, "Wendy, she's a pillar of wisdom." I know, I'm getting carried away. :D

    Cindy, I respect you for knowing what you wrote. I think after my first book was written, I was a horse out of the starting gate...go go go and I didn't slow down to realize I HAVE TIME. Time to learn, to grow, to listen, to WRITE.

    Heather, Jacqueline's really excited me, so I made the trip. It was a wonderfully rejuvenating getaway. She addressed a lot of my questions personally. It fired me up if you want to know the truth. It takes another writer to do that sometimes.

    Jill, yes, hard to be away from home. Other reasons. I enjoyed your insightful posts on conferences. I lived vicariously. And who doesn't like doing that/or that word for that matter?

    Katie, is it too weird to write that I'd gladly go in your pocket? :D
    Katie, I'm expecting to hear great things about your experience. Don't leave us in the dark when you return.

    Once again I'm honored to be communicating with such pillars of wisdom (had to do it). You tickle me purple (never been a real fan of pink). Clearly I need to settle my slap happy self down, do some chores, prepare for little bits to go to school and READ. Over 1,000 written today.

    Here's to hoping you are startled awake to the sound of snoring!

    Happy conference-going or non-pouting.

    ~ Wendy

  14. Hey Wendy- curious which conference people are attending in the near future? I wanted to do Glorietta in October but it is no more. So, not to make anyone jealous :) but which one would you attend if you could- Mt. Hermon is on my short list?

  15. You are doing things right, as they say "writers write". I went to one writers conference and learned alot, enjoyed meeting writers, editors, agents, etc. and got my book proposal looked at.
    That was the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.
    However I can't say that the cost of about $800 will be spent by me again on a conference, anytime soon. Oh, maybe it will.
    My first book was published by Leafwood Publishers in fall 2008, and that is a wonderful experience.


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