While you read this, I will be doing the conferencing thing. Malice Domestic is this weekend where all things traditional and cozy mystery will be celebrated by readers and authors alike. There will be editors there (the Berkley editors take their authors to a pretty awesome steak dinner) and agents in attendance (yes – the fabulous Stacia Decker will be lurking in the bar). All in all, it will be a weekend filled with talking about the thing we all have in common – books.
Conferences are great since you get to network and sign books and all that jazz. Panels are typically a great deal of fun and discussing your characters and your upcoming work is all sensational business stuff. But I would say that while these adventures are important for an author’s career, they are more important for an author’s soul.
As writers, we spend lots of time in front of the computer screen – alone. Ok—some people would say that we aren’t technically alone since we are spending time with the people and scenarios in our head. But really…no matter how many imaginary friends you have or how often they talk to you, writing is not a team sport. You sit and write and you do it solo. But writers need to get out and experience the world. We need to observe people and place and social events in order to create realistic feeling situations on the page. And more important – we need to be with other people that understand the pressures of writing.
Complaining about deadlines, yammering about the most horrid rejection you’ve ever received and just talking about every day stuff with other people whose feet are set on the same path is important. Sharing those experiences on this blog, on twitter, and facebook are good, but there is nothing like being with other people who are part of the same community. Who understand the joy of a great writing day or the agony of a terrible one without explanation. While food and coffee feed an author’s body, it is the coming together of like minds with like purpose that feed an author’s soul. And that is a wonderful thing.