A lot can happen in a year

Writers are always working on a dozen things at once, and usually toward some sort of deadline. First drafts. (And seconds, and thirds, and fourths.) Websites. Conferences. Blogs. Contest entries. Social media. Queries. Submissions. Revisions.

We rarely stop long enough to take stock of where we are, or to enjoy the process. But the 2017 Desert Dreams Conference last week, sponsored by Desert Rose RWA, helped me see how much can happen in a year.

Pitching, Then and Now

I was one stressed-out puppy at last year’s conference. It was my first time pitching to agents and editors, and being a newbie is always terrifying. You can read more about pitch lessons here, but please trust me on this — if you get a chance to pitch to agents/editors in person, make like Nike. (Just Do It.) Pitching in person will shine a spotlight on your queries when they hit agent and editor inboxes, even months later. I met Eric Ruben at last year’s conference in April, but didn’t query him until January. He signed me this spring. Pitch conferences work.

This year, instead of pitching, I had the pleasure of helping others rehearse their pitches. It was a full-circle experience, remembering the extreme (!) jitters  — and the people who helped me run through my pitch last year. So it was really cool, and a little surreal, to help those brave souls and assure fellow authors that everything would work out just fine.

Meeting an Idol

One major highlight of the conference was our keynote speaker, Diana Gabaldon, creator of the brilliant Outlander series of books. She talked about taking her series from print to screen and was kind enough to sign hundreds of books and answer questions. You can read more about that here, but it was another full-circle/surreal moment. Who could have guessed last year that I’d be having dinner with my kick-ass agent, Shannon Orso, and my favorite author? Not me. (Thanks again, Kris Tualla. You’re my hero.)

So a lot can change in twelve months. Last year, I was panicked about pitching and querying. After a year and dozens of queries (and partial reads, and full reads, and piles of rejections), I’m looking forward to the next part of this adventure.

Celebrate your successes! How much has your life changed this year, and what are your dreams for the one to come? Leave a comment below and let me know.

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