I once again braved airports and jet lag to return to Colorado to see my Critique Group of Awesome and attend the Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference. And once again, it was worth it despite the stress of air travel and waking up ridiculously early because of my internal clock.
There were several stand-outs this year. Carol Berg helped me fall in love with fantasy and world-building all over again. And Rachel Caine showed the necessity of butt-in-chair (“Creativity is not your master; creativity is your bitch.”) and treating writing like the job it truly is, while still remembering how wonderful and fun it can be (writing break dance parties!). Both of them were also incredible to talk to and had so much appreciated advice.
Angie Hodapp and Warren Hammond also had a brilliant session on knowing when and where to expand and contract in a manuscript. They are great people and an amazing team, and we all agreed their session could easily have been one of the three-hour workshops in the prequel Thursday.
I was much more relaxed about talking to people this year, now knowing what to expect (and already having some embarrassing experiences last year and surviving them). Writers are amazing people, and PPWC attracts funny, generous, and enthusiastic people. There’s always something to talk about whether writing, books, TV shows, or films. And when in doubt, there’s also card games in the lobby during the evening.
(I also came over a day early this year, to give myself extra time for adjusting to the time difference and altitude, along with giving myself a day to recover before flying back to Dublin. It was one of the best decisions I made for myself.)
Above all, I realised yet again how amazing my critique group is. Not just in terms of their writing and talent, but in terms of being wonderful people. We carved out pockets of time where we hung out and debriefed, brainstormed (I needed a new title), or just spent time talking before dinner. While only about half of us attended PPWC this year, the power of Google Hangouts mean we always get to stay in contact with each other.
I can’t wait to see them all again next year. And while PPWC16 was a personal and professional success for me (I’ll be doing a separate post on what I learned about verbal pitching), I gave myself a few days to recover from jet lag (again) before checking briefly back into the Revisionland Hotel to get the last couple of things done on the book. The end is now in sight, so I can soon nudge THE QUEEN OF COIN AND WHISPERS out into the world!
Above all, it was confirmed at PPWC to keep writing. If not this book, then the next one. We’re writers. We write. And there always needs to be another idea, another book.