February 25, 2007

Vancouver Writes...

The gravest error any writer can make is assuming that what they're working on HAS to be read to by others. The sad truth is no one needs to read your work. Adoring fans, or any audience for that matter, are not conjured up; they are manufactured. And an egotistical perspective of your own work is a great way to find yourself left alone to flounder in your own devices. There can be pride, sure. But respect, humility, and an ability to stroke the ego's of others go a long way too.
You have to sell yourself, which means networking, a huge componant for any artist desiring audience. But networking also provides the opportunity to connect with like-minded people, an invaluable resource.

Networking is not an easy thing to do for some people. There are times when I know I would much rather be safe at home, TV remote in hand, then heading out to some function where people don't know me and I have to schmooze. But it can be a lot of fun, once you make that almost Kierkegaardian leap to get out there.
For all you writers close to BC, there are number of festivals and conferences that take place annually:

On the more literary side of things (see my previous post for thoughts on "literary"), there is a wonderful gem called the Vancouver International Writer's Festival. I attended an event this past Friday called Vancouver Writes, which grouped aspiring writers in competitive teams to complete three writing tasks. For each task, a different published author would join the team as a guide. A poet friend of mine pushed me into going and I was glad she did. Not only did we meet some wonderful people, but I managed to make contact with some great authors/poets like Brad Cran and Nancy Lee, who were more than happy to provide email addresses and information. Their talent is immense, so I encourage you to research both of them. Of course, the wine and other libations helped too.

For those of you who enjoy genre writing (Fantasty, Romance, Thrillers etc.), one of North America's largest conferences is held every year in Surrey: SIWC (Surrey International Writer's Conference). I've attended it twice, even though I don't write genre fiction and made some good contacts on both occasions, not to mention receiving some valuable advice from agents and published authors alike. One great feature is called Blue Pencil which allows you to sit and dialogue with agents and/or authors (15 minute intervals) about your work. If you've completed a manuscript, you can pitch it to an agent or publisher. If you just need some advice or help, they are available for that too.

The important thing is to act. Don't be passive about your writing. Attend events that provide you oppportunity. Be genuinely interested in what others are doing; learn from their successes and failures.

Thus endeth my sermon...


Mighty Sally said...

I'm so glad you made it to that workshop on friday - I haven't seen you so inspired in awhile. I think as artists, it is so important to connect with like minded folks. We feed off each other's creative energies and it's amazing what can be accomplished in collaboration. And yes, a couple rounds of wine can always bring about new levels of inspiration. Especially for those of us who possess a certain level of social anxiety...eeeee

m said...

Harry, are we still friends?