An Interminable March

I have a love/hate relationship with the month of March.  As an educator, it is an interminable month with no breaks and students ramped up with cabin fever.  As a sports fan, it’s a dream come true.  The NCAA Tournament is highly entertaining and fraught with excitement.  But, thankfully for the non-sports fans, that is not to be the subject of this post.

Let’s talk writing conferences.  I’ve been to several reputable conferences, mainly thinking I would learn something of great importance to apply to my craft.  Truthfully that isn’t what they’re all about.  Let me further qualify that most of the conferences are mystery-genre related since that is what I read and write for the most part.  And I have learned a few tricks along the way, but they’re more about networking and selling books.

I’m not a star-struck kind of person but I’ve enjoyed meeting many well-known authors.  I resent the amount of money that celebrities and sports figures make in light of the struggles most of us go through to make ends meet.  Who is to say acting or bouncing a ball is any more important than educating young people, running a bank or fixing a faucet?  Don’t let me digress about the state of our society.

Back to writing conferences….What I’ve learned most is that there is no “right” way to write.  What works for one may not work for another and so on.  The most important thing is just to write, get the words on paper, have them critiqued.  That isn’t to say one can’t learn by reading books on the craft, listening to lectures on the craft, etc.  It’s important to be a consumer but it’s more important to be a practitioner.

Writing conferences I’ve attended and enjoyed:  CrimeBake, the Tony Hillerman Conference, Malice Domestic, ThrillerFest, Murder in the Grove.  Authors I’ve met who were gracious and down-to-earth:  Tony Hillerman, J.A. Jance, Craig Johnson, Robert Crais, Michael McGarrity,  Lee Harris, Vicki Delany, Roberta Isleib, Lee Lofland, D.P. Lyle, just to name a few.  By no means is this a comprehensive list of conferences and authors.  I will continue to attend conferences as a means of networking and learning.  Plus someday in the near future I plan to have a book of my own to hawk.

If you dream of writing, then do it.  It does no good to anyone to keep the words in your head.  Turn them loose, create your own March Madness!

About thequarryschild

A self-described forensic junkie, Beth Anderson spends her days shaping young minds to ask critical questions and wonder “whodunit.” Beth resides in the Capital District of New York and spends her free time reading and solving the great mysteries. Her love of swimming, tennis and sports provides the basis for one of the lead characters in her new book The Quarry’s Child. Beth is one of the founding members of the Upper Hudson Valley Chapter of Sisters in Crime (aka Mavens of Mayhem), a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy, a survivor of a visit to an active aircraft carrier while it was at sea, and a published poet in Soundings, a literary journal. Beth continues to instill a love for mystery fiction in her students as she has for over twenty years. Photo credit: Quinn Mulvey
This entry was posted in authors, March, mystery, writing, writing conferences. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to An Interminable March

  1. L. Miller says:

    Someone once told me that it’s okay to write just to write, to express emotions that would otherwise go bottled up, creating an internal mayhem that would be undeniably destructive. And I didn’t believe it; I am in no way a ‘good’ writer, and I didn’t want to create something that wasn’t up to standards, so to say. But what people consider to be ‘good’ writing is just their opinion. I guess writing is totally personal, and depending on how you look at it, you see different things. For example, you might read something that you don’t understand, but if you take the time to look into the author’s life, to actually see what they’ve been through, you don’t see the piece of writing the way you used to see it. You understand it. Writing is a window to a person’s soul; their emotions, beliefs, desires, etc. And it’s brilliant. And now I believe.

    • Sometimes one has to take other’s opinions/suggestions on faith. Writing doesn’t always have to be correct to be beneficial. I wouldn’t say it’s brilliant; it is what it is.

  2. L. Miller says:

    Yes, I should have listened. But listening would have meant change; I hate change. Change is a reminder that you have absolutely no control over anything, which is unpleasant, even if the change would be good. But writing stuff down makes it easier to deal. Once again, I find myself being guided by more adept and wiser people; guess that goes to show I’ve got a lot to learn. But hey, if we stopped learning from others and our own mistakes, we’d be dead, so…

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