As my fellow bloggers, Lisa and Julie, have mentioned, the mystery writer’s conference, New England Crime Bake , took place this past weekend. I wasn’t able to go last year so I was thrilled to attend the conference this year.
I had a wonderful time. I was inspired by all the first-time authors in attendance, as well as the famous authors who were there after publishing their fourth, tenth, or even thirtieth bestseller.
I got to sit in on a round table with an agent and a published author, both of whom listened as eight writers read their loglines and the first pages of their manuscripts. Each person got individual feedback from both. It was a wonderful opportunity.
This is the fourth time I’ve attended the Crime Bake conference and it was the best conference yet. Some of that had to do with the organizers—everyone on the Crime Bake Committee make a real effort to make everyone, from readers to unpublished authors to the famous, feel welcome. It also had to do with my own state of mind. I was thrilled to be there and engaged in all the panels I went to, while also giving myself permission to skip an event to go running when I couldn’t absorb any more information.
I’ve been writing for years now but this is the first year I attended Crime Bake and felt like I belonged. I think something has shifted for me. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I’ve been writing for years, so I’m a writer. I know I just need to keep at it and I will improve in the art and the craft of writing.
One of the insights I gained from the weekend was that each author’s process is unique. Elizabeth George creates her characters and researches the setting of her novel before she ever sits down to write the story. Hallie Ephron said her writing process was really ugly and that she tended to be a “seat-of-the-pants” writer. I admire both of these women and love their books. They’ve both created suspenseful stories that read seamlessly. It’s hard to believe they work so completely differently.
I’m so glad I went to Crime Bake, if only to learn that the way I write is right for me. I’m just going to stick with what’s working and keep racking up my “10,000 hours” to master this writing craft.
I’ll end this post by saying the inspiration and motivation that comes from hanging out with a group of people who love words as much as we do cannot be measured. It was a priceless weekend and I can’t wait for next year’s Crime Bake!
Diane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, master certified life coach, and family physician. I’m working on my NaNo project and I’m not behind. This year I am a turtle, slowly marching toward 50,000 words, while in years past I’ve always been a hare, ignoring my word count and then sprinting forward to write 10,000 words in one day. I have to say, being a turtle is much more relaxing than being a hare. I hope I can keep it up!