In the days since DFWcon, the most frequent question I’ve heard is: Was it successful?
Before the conference, each day brought more nervous-excitement about the crucial pitch session. Family and friends alike rallied on my Facebook and Twitter with cheers and wishes of luck. Now that it’s over, do I tell them that it wasn’t a success because I got rejected? In a way, this weighed on my heart more than the pass by the agent. It seemed to me that I let down the people I cared about the most by not dazzling an agent with a world-changing novel. However, the truth about the conference came down to something more.
DFWcon revolved around honing a craft, finding a tribe, networking, and being there for the milestones or setbacks. Each day allowed for hundreds of writers to get one step closer to becoming the author of their dreams. This was due to the talented authors, who took time to answer questions and share their experiences. The writing community focuses on aiding writers through each step of the process. This encouragement is evident from the people working behind the scenes. Their focus achieved the best possible experience for their attendees. For writers, it became more than a weekend away, it evolved into both a dream and nightmare. This may seem confusing at first, but trust me when I say it’s all by choice to help mold us into future authors.
The fact is that most writers are introverts. They enjoy the dim lit corner with nothing, but the glow of a computer screen to work on ‘The Precious’. So, telling a writer to go out and be social may be comparable to climbing Everest. You wouldn’t ask your plumber to take a look at your roof. But, that’s the way writers have to go about honing their craft.
The upside to the massive social awkwardness is that writers are extremely supportive. Even when revealing that the pass on my manuscript, other writers offered a flood of encouragement and inspiration. Writing may not appear to be straining, but the emotional roller-coaster experienced can be extreme. Writing is not simply ink on a page. It’s a soul poured by a skillful hand and laid out before the judgement of others. If deemed unworthy, the writer can experience personal affliction. Every writer, experiences this soul-piercing heartache at some point in their career. So, no matter the downfall, they are there to offer support in their community. Even if it’s to listen because (trust me) writers have mastered the art of listening.
So despite the pass during my pitch session (with a wonderful agent), I still would have to say ‘Yes, it was successful’. Even though one part didn’t go as planned, I made new friends, found my tribe, and learned something about my craft. To me, that is success. It’s continuing on even if you get pushed back.
As our amazing Keynote speaker, Stephanie Klein said, “Never give up, never surrender.” (Galaxyquest).
Click here to check out DFWcon 2018.