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  • Sierra Dougherty

Derby Season



I attended my first writers workshop in April of 2017. Located (and you guessed it) in Louisville, Kentucky. Event topic: How to Get Published. Initially I wasn't going to go. I had only learned about the event one week before it was being held. I know, I'll just pack my belongings, reserve the hotel room, and buy a plane ticket out there. How? Well I'll put it on my business credit card of course! Wait. no. Being a mother of five I knew better than to "waste" money on what seemed like a vacation in my mind.

I mean, come on. Sitting in a room full of writers MILES away from home learning how to make my dreams come true. I don't know about you but with the possibility of skipping the slush pile and landing a deal with an agent in a day is just about every authors wet dream. Crushed, I decided I needed to come to terms with the fact that I wasn't going to be able to make it. Dabbling on my computer in my living room with my husband sitting next to me he asks 'Whatcha doin?'. 'Looking at writers workshops for this year' I said sighing under my breath.

That was the end of it. Explaining the event, when it was being held, and where, my husband literally gave me no choice. 'We're going' he said. Hemming and hawing the whole time knowing full well the money could be used elsewhere we packed up our things. We found a sitter for all of the kids except my youngest, got my sister to care for our dog, and DROVE all the way there in our minivan from Cape Cod. It was the best decision ever made for my writing career. The conference was being hosted by Brian Klems author of Oh Boy, You're Having a Girl: A Dad's Guide to Raising Daughters.

That morning was kid you not, just like the Kentucky Derby. Writers lining up in front of the submission tables as the horses would the starting gate. All of us waiting for the loud POP of the gun. We've been training for this. Our manuscripts edited and waiting to see who comes in first during the critique session. Granted our reward doesn't consist of a boatload of cash and over 400 hand woven red roses backed with green satin but still is rewarding nonetheless. Our reward is much more personal.

That moment when the agent requests the first 50 pages of your manuscript. It is amazing. Unlike the thoroughbreds though that one winning moment doesn't mark the end of our career but rather the beginning. Now knowing what a rush it is to attend conferences I fully intend to continue doing so and would recommend to any writer to do the same. My next event will be the SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in July of 2017.

If you're anything like me, I'll see you there!

#writing #conference #author

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