When it comes to panels, I’m on a roll, apparently! (I forgot to get a picture, sorry!)
On Saturday, I was featured on a panel for the DC chapter of the Ellevate Network, called “Write a Book: Get Started!” I was honored to have been asked to participate. I highly respect the women in Ellevate, a professional women’s networking group, and was even more thrilled to do it because it allowed me to talk about another aspect of my life, the one readers of this blog know best: my writing life.
I’ve been on an Ellevate panel before, last fall. We were talking about how to make the most of the current age, which seems to drag on and on. I was asked to give my take as an entrepreneur/solopreneur. I encouraged everyone—as I’ve been doing for months—to make the most of this time. Doing another Ellevate panel and the other talks I’ve been doing in my business community (see here, here, here, and here) have been my way of doing that. The virtual space allows for way more exposure than in-person events; why not make yourself known in the easiest way possible?
I covered literary writing and traditional publishing, while the other person, Dr. Joanna Massey, covered business book writing and vanity and self-publishing. It was great getting a sense from her of how her process differs from mine, and how writing her books helps to bring her business.
Doing this panel also helped to reset my expectations. I’ve been immersed in the writing world for almost five years now, and everything about it seems commonplace. But I have to remember that not everyone knows what I know. For example, folks were shocked to hear that, even if my book were accepted by a publisher tomorrow, you wouldn’t see it on shelves for 18 to 24 months. They were surprised to hear that you don’t need copyright “protection” before the book is published because you can’t copyright an idea. It was nice to be able to both educate and encourage people, though I did wonder, given the amount that we threw at them, if it was encouraging at all.
It was only an hour long, so we could cover only so much. One thing I wished I’d gotten to talk about more how important having a writing community is to the process of literary writing. I touched on it just a little bit, while we were discussing how one makes time to write while working full-time and maybe having family obligations. Writing with my friend Amy on Saturday mornings since the fall has really helped push my work along. In fact, in our session right before the panel, I made headway on a short story I’ve been percolating on, finding a new entryway into the protagonist’s motivation. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I hadn’t taken the time to write with Amy. Having an accountability partner of any sort is really key when you have so much other stuff going on.
It was funny. I realized that writing and publishing are two things that I can talk nonstop about, or at least manage a really solid monologue for 20 minutes or so. I hope to bring that level of enthusiasm to my work, as I help my clients tell their story, and to my querying process, which as been kind of on hold at the moment, since I’ve got so much work going on. Clearly, I’ve got passion and I’ve got words. Now, all I want is a book to show for it. 😊