I’ve been to a lot of writing conferences. Like a whole lot of writing conferences. I’ve spent oodles of dollars on them, and feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on what to expect out of an event.
For instance, last year I went to a week-long Master Class on the Oregon coast. They warned us that it would be focused on the business side of publishing and that by the ends our brains would have exploded. Twice.
Just as the promised, I came away from that conference with more than 20 pages of notes which I condensed down into 3 pages of a “To Do” list. Even now, a year later, I’ve hardly made a dent in that list because it’s so dense.
While at the Master Class last year, a few people told me they were going to a writing conference called 20 Books to 50k the very next week. Everyone raved about it afterward, so I jumped online and signed up to be notified when tickets went on sale. I picked them up right after I got the email, reserved my hotel room and waited.
The basic premise of 20 Books is that if you have twenty books, and know how to market them well, you can make 50k a year, which is apparently enough to comfortably retire in Cabo.
Between that description, and all of the people that raved about the conference last year, I was expecting great things.
I didn’t get what I expected.
This has happened to me a few times. For instance, I once read the book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Many in my writing community praised it as the best book about writing ever written. So I read it…and was disappointed. Because the book isn’t about writing. Not really. It’s about finding your motivation and how that can help you get through life. It’s one big pat on the head.
I didn’t want a motivational book. I wanted useful information. (And yes, I think a few of my friends now shun me because of my less than glowing review of the book.)
The same thing happened to me last week at 20 Books. I was expecting to walk away with pages and pages of notes and at least another page or two to add to my “To Do” list. Instead I got a series of “This is how I did it (without specifics that I was looking for) and you can do it too!” speeches.
A lot of people left the conference glowing and excited and ready to conquer their mountain.
I’m already on my mountain. I don’t need someone to yell encouraging things down from the top, I need someone to share their experiences about the next couple of steps of my path. And I’m totally willing to share my experiences (however limited they may be) with others.
So if you’re looking for some seriously amazing success stories, and could use a boost to your motivation, I highly suggest you sign up for the conference next year.
If you’re looking more for specific information, be ready to talk to everyone in the room until you find that one person that’s a few steps ahead of you that is willing to chat. And believe me, it’s pretty hard to draw information out of introverts. Even with cookies to offer.