By Alex Villasante
Everyone knows what's important to agents. The writing is king. Your writing is something you work on every day, on your own and with your crit partners and beta readers (and maybe your mom.) It's indisputable that you need to hone your craft. So why are you (and me and tons of others) wasting time writing on a blog? Why are we wasting time reading other blogs, commenting on other blogs, slogging through google reader? Why are we NOT using that time to WRITE?
Let me take a step back here. In my day job I'm an event planner. I've produced lots of events, everything from giant yard sales for charity to silent auctions. But when I started planning conventions and conferences It really opened my eyes. EVERYONE (writers, of course, included) has a conference. If there are a group of people doing a job, odds are good that they are getting together every year, probably somewhere warm, and hobnobbing with each other. It's called personal development, and the workshops and classes given are proof of that. But I plan these suckers. I know how much booze is consumed. I know that the surf lessons that come under the header of 'team building' are really just an excuse to wear a bikini. So what's going on?
Most conferences are 30% professional development and 70% blowing off steam with a group of people that understand the specific issues you face. These are your peeps. They get you. It's important to connect with people already know what you do and how hard it is. Whatever kind of nerd you are - and everyone is some kind of nerd - a conference offers you the opportunity to nerd out.
I propose that a community of blogs can do the same thing. It connects you to people who understand how hard it is and can bolster you when you are faltering. Reading about their journey and seeing how it mirrors yours can give you the strength to keep going, to not give up. I know it's done that for me. That's without mentioning the practical tips on agents, querying and, yes, attending conferences, that you can glean from other blogs. That's what I'm trying to do with my blog. I try to put out a lighthouse for others out on the wine-dark seas. If something I say offers some encouragement, that's worth the encouragement I get back.
I know someone who doesn't agree with me. Someone who thinks that it's too much of a drain, there are too many trolls (which is true) and too much negativity and just plain a waste of valuable writing time. I won't out her now, but maybe I can persuade her to write a rebuttal...Stay tuned.