Thursday, March 22, 2012

Top Ten Reasons To Attend a Writer’s Conference

Yep, this is a repost - I'm admitting that upfront. But hey, sometimes my writing is timeless!

10. The stylish name-tags. Okay, kidding.

 9. The food. Still kidding. (actually - this year's menu was great - loved the cheesecake!)

 8. Meeting internet writing friends (people look different in 3-D than 2-D).

 7. The chance to listen to famous authors, published authors (not always the same thing) and lots of other experienced people in the writing and publishing industry.

 6. Sit at a table with total strangers and talk about genres, word count, writing methods and hooks.

 5. Attend workshops and learn I’ve written a few things right.

 4. Attend workshops and find out I’ve written a few things that will need to be burned.

 3. Have total strangers ask, “What do you write?”

 2. Have an agent or editor ask, “What do you write?”

And the  # 1 reason to attend a writer’s conference is having confirmed to you the universal truth :
Writing is the coolest, most awesome job/hobby/obsession in the world!

I get carried away, but how could I not after attending the fabulous ANWA conference? If you were there, you know what I mean. If you weren't there -(well why not?) mark your calendar for next year!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Borrowed Inspiration

That songwriting sister of mine shared some nice inspiration.
This was on Jason Blume's website at one point, not sure why the link isn't working now, but I shared this with the ANWA ladies and thought I'd put it here, too.


STEP ONE: Believe You Can Fly by Jason Blume

I’m just back from teaching at the annual Australian Songwriters Conference. Once again, the ASC was awesome, crammed full of pitch opportunities, publishers, and producers. . . .When the conference was over, Lisa Butler, the founder, arranged for me to visit Walkabout Wildlife Park, a sanctuary for animals who’ve been injured or can’t survive in the wild. That’s where I met Baxter, a stunning, yellow-crested cockatoo who resides at the park.

The tour guide told me that Baxter had spent his first seven years confined to a cage that was too small for him to spread his wings. He’d never flown—and didn’t know that he could. Shortly after he’d been brought to the sanctuary Baxter’s keeper tried an experiment in the hopes of encouraging the bird to do what nature intended him to do. Tossed into the air, his wings fluttered and brought him safely to a branch. But the problem was that Baxter still didn’t know he could fly—so he paced on his branch, seeming confused about how he got there, and unable to figure out how to get back down.

The next day when the bird was still up in the tree, hungry and squawking for help, the keeper took pity and climbed a ladder to retrieve the confounded cockatoo.

I haven’t been able to get Baxter off my mind and I keep wondering, “What am capable of—that don’t know that I can do?” What might I achieve if I exercised talents that I don’t trust that I possess? And how high might I soar if I only tried?

Baxter would have to be pretty dumb to jump off his safe perch if he believed that splatting on the ground would be the inevitable outcome. Likewise, why would I invest money and put my heart and soul into a demo—if deep down I believed I wasn’t good enough? And why bother going through the trouble of pitching my songs if I secretly suspect no one will like them anyway? And why bother rewriting, or seeking collaborators, or pushing myself to push the envelope musically if I’m certain I’ll never beat out the competition?
It’s not easy to dig down deep and express ourselves as the unique artists and writers we were meant to be. It’s something typically achieved through trial and error, patience and perseverance—and sometimes we will fall—and it will hurt. There are no guarantees—except that if we don’t try—it won’t happen. I’ve got to believe my dreams are attainable—or I won’t even try.

Like the animals at Walkabout Park most of us have been wounded in one way or another and we’ve absorbed a lifetime of messages that say, “What’s so special about you?”; “What are the chances?”; and “You’ll never make it.”

Clipping our hopes and dreams is a form of self-protection—but it comes at a high price. What might you find that you can do if you ruffled some feathers, spread your wings, took the leap of faith from the safety of your branch, and reached for the sky? You’ll never know unless you try. 

Step One is believing you can fly.  


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