Gateway Writers Conference – St Louis

I went to my very first writers’ conference this weekend. It was nerve-wracking at first because I am not a ‘writer’ in my mind. I am a wannabe or a writer-in-training but definitely not a ‘Writer”. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the people there were at or near the same level as I. There were a number of published authors, even full-time writers, but there were no raging professionals to intimidate us. To be honest it was a rather modest conference but that made it perfect for a first-timer like myself.
My wife Sheri got me the tickets for Christmas as an incentive to finish the book I’m writing. The registration included pitch sessions with several agents. Of course, I was nervous. Okay, terrified. The book isn’t complete and I only finished the first draft a few weeks ago. So no, I didn’t think I was at all ready for this. But I went anyway. I figured it would be good practice and would give some good contacts for later. Imagine my surprise when I get two requests for the full manuscript when complete!!
Oh, Crap! If I thought the pressure was on me before, it’s ten-fold more intense now. I haven’t even finished the book and they want it!! My wife is all proud and poofy. I’m sweating in buckets.
But like they say, one word at a time. I met some wonderful writers-in-training over the weekend and will be joining a writers group to get some critique help on my book. I also, have some more experienced writers interested in my input on their projects. So, I now have some contacts in the industry that I can tap into when the time comes.
Overall, it was a very exciting weekend. I did two pitches and got two requests. I’m batting a thousand at this point. I spoke with several writers that had done a hundred pitches and hundreds of queries without a request for manuscript. They really curbed my enthusiasm beforehand but it was an easy painless process and I had nothing to worry about. I need to be worried about my completion date now. I think four months is as much as I can afford. I better get writing.

By Wayne Kearney

I am an engineer and struggling writer. By day I improve manufacturing processes and by night I write what ever the voices in my head feel like.

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