Best of cheapblackpens | Lessons Learned from WDCW

[Original post here]

I know I normally use these posts to discuss best practices, personal writing-related revelations, and tips. Today I’d like to combine all those areas into a few select insights (courtesy of WDCW).

“It’s all about opportunity.” This was the first note I took at WDCW (check me out with my old school composition notebook!); as I look back on the conference events, this sentiment rings true. Writing and publishing are about opportunity. For some writers, it may be about opportunities that arise from an encounter with an agent. For others, it may be an opportunity that inspires a different view of the true crime research you’re doing. For me, it’s about the imagination’s opportunity to test boundaries and explore new worlds.

“There is no book in your mind.” In other words, ideas are totally great – but until it’s on the page, it’s not real. It’s a nice little kick in the pants to really get you motivated.

Be a diverse writer. Different skill sets and genres can keep you fresh and unpredictable. That may not appeal to everyone (authors and readers alike), but being able to master multiple areas of author expertise is definitely one of my goals.

Marketing is your friend. Writers have business cards now? What? You aspiring novelists are making me look bad! Seriously, though, this was my first big conference – I’ve attended workshops, online events, and regional conferences, but never something so networking-heavy. In a couple of conversations I was actually shunned because I didn’t have a card to pass over. That seemed a little extreme – most people were really nice, especially when I said I’m in the process of rebranding (which is mostly true; cheapblackpens is my “brand,” it just sucks). Social media will be a big thing for me moving forward, and I hope to do a relaunch late 2012/early 2013.

This isn’t so much a lesson, but it is kind of funny: James Patterson is a character. A couple presenters/panelists had some interesting stories about him/his work. Apparently [note: hearsay forthcoming] he writes his own blurbs – including the preceding tags like “PATTERSON HAS DONE IT AGAIN!” or “PATTERSON PROVES HE IS A MASTER OF SUSPENSE.”

Note: Quotes from Aimee Bender’s opening keynote

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