My friend and fellow writer Tracy Sayre is on an inspiring mission. Her mission, if you choose to accept it, is to make sure that you as a writer are connected with the people and resources to help you become successful in this difficult and often times isolating profession of passion and love.
Tracy, is the creator of the Writers Work Conference, a brand new writer's conference set to take New York by storm this fall.
I had a virtual chat with Tracy to get some details about this conference as well as to secure a discount for all of you. Here's what she had to say:
1) Hi Tracy, can you give us a little background about yourself as a writer? (When did you start? What genre do you work with, etc.)
When I was five years old, I used to write stories about how I was born on Mars and raised by apes. I would make photocopies of these stories and sell them to my neighbors for a nickel. As I grew older, I became self-conscious of my writing because I had poor grammar and I couldn't spell. My teachers told me I was a terrible writer, and unfortunately I believed them. It wasn't until freshman year of college that I rekindled my love of creative writing. I awoke from a dream and I had to write down a very particular image that stuck with me. The next day I kept thinking about the character in that scene, and started writing about her. I worked on that story for over two years, never caring about the grammar, realizing that a misplaced comma couldn't hold back my passion and creativity.
2) What is the Writers Work Conference?
The Writers Work Conference
is an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of writing. The next conference is Saturday, September 20 in Times Sq. Here's what the day will look like: Learn about writers' residencies from the best-selling author Aryn Kyle. Eat lunch with literary agent Shira Hoffman and pitch your story to the group to get feedback. From a senior copywriter at Simon & Schuster, hear what happens once a publishing house receives your manuscript. Learn how to protect your work and your sanity from publisher Deborah Emin. This is all on top of an hour-long writing class, and a group discussion where you can share your questions, tips, fears, and frustrations. There's going to be a lot of information, but overall it will be fun and relaxed.
3) How did you come up with the idea for Writers Work?
When I first realized I wanted to be a professional writer I kept reading that I had to go to conferences to network. I researched a bunch and they were all way over my budget. I talked to other writers who had attended these conferences and they complained that it was impossible to really network because there were too many people, and they spend most of their time in line. I wanted to make a conference series that is affordable and intimate. I go out of my way to find speakers that are approachable and encouraging. My hope is that people leave these conferences not only meeting an agent or editor, but also meeting a new writing friend.
4) What makes the Writers Work conference unique?
Besides for the tickets
being under $100 (including lunch and breakfast), and the size limited to 50 people, the most unique thing about this conference is the sense of community. As a writer, there is nothing quite like talking to another writer. They just get you better than anyone else. Because I keep these conferences small, and because there are lots of guided discussions, and group meals, there is really time for you to meet a kindred spirit. Writing can be so lonely, and I never want that to be the reason why a talented writer gives up. I'm helping to build writing communities so that we can share our work, get feedback, and cheer each other on!
5) What advice do you have for new writers who are actively pursuing publication?
First off, always introduce yourself as a writer. This seems simple, but if you're anything like I was you'll cringe the first time you do it, but you have to do it anyway. Nowadays, I go to a party, introduce myself as a writer, and inevitably someone says "oh my friend's an agent. You two should meet!" two years ago I didn't know anyone in the publishing industry. Now I have friends in almost all of the large publishing houses. I think deep down people love to connect their friends, so if you give them the information they need (and that's as simple as telling them you're a writer), they will help you out.
Secondly, there are no short cuts. You have to put in the time and the work. You can't just stay behind your computer screen - you have to get outside and network. Your first draft isn't going to cut it. Your second and third draft probably won't either. Put in the time and the work, make personal connections with people in the business, and eventually you will get published.
Tracy has been kind enough to gift you, my lovely readers, with a 10% off code. Simply use the code: SOJOURNER when prompted after registering to claim your discount.
If you're a writer and you're in or will be in and around the NYC vicinity, I hope to see you at Writers Work
. If you're one of my readers, please tap me on the shoulder and say hello, I'd love to meet you and find out what you're working on!