The Unexpected Bar

Over the weekend, I attended the Missouri Writers Conference in St. Louis.  I had a really good time, made several new contacts, learned a lot about how I’m progressing as a writer, and made a successful pitch of Mind & Machine.

A successful pitch isn’t a book deal, as nice as that would be.  A successful pitch isn’t a deal with an agent, even though that’s one big hurdle writers are still going after.  A successful pitch is simply that, a pitch.  It is not the whole game, nor is it even an inning.

This pitch hit its mark and now I have an opportunity to show off thirty pages of Mind & Machine.  I get to show Commander, Kathryn, and Der Former to a literary agent.  This is a fantastic development for me, even if it doesn’t get past that point.  One opportunity might lead to another, but it also shows me how to find that initial opportunity again.

Aside from the purely professional aspects of attending a conference, there was also all the networking.  Wow, that sounds so stuff, when, really, it’s not.  I got to hang out with several really cool people, getting to know who they were and what kind of background they come from.  This is the foundation to character building, meeting people and hearing the great stories they have to tell.

Now, a little background on me.  I’m not a big drinker.  I don’t have any problems with drinking, not really.  I know it’s vices, I’ve known lushes and recovering alcoholics.  When I go out with friends and have a drink, it’s usually part of us hanging out before we go on to something else.

So having a drink at the bar the first night of the conference was a little stretch for me–except that I was listening in as people asked questions of agents and tried to pry out some information during a nightcap.

Stopping in the bar the second night, that was a fluke.  I had retreated to change clothes and do a little typing.  I made a call to my Dad and when I finished, I saw a few of the writers I’d met sitting at the bar.  I decided I’d go over for a minute, have a drink, and talk to some people for a bit.  Instead, I sat for about three hours, had two beers (a rare occurrence for me staying in the same seat), and had a really good time.  I watched some hockey and some baseball, got to hear about a kid bashing their head from running through the hall, discussed the state of the world, and debated the notion of women’s rugby.

There is another bar though, one I can see ahead of me.  There’s no alcohol here, only a goal post.  To reach it, I can’t stretch or jump.  The only way for me to reach this bar is to edit my work, to write better, and to find new and amazing ways to promote myself.  Speaking of which, I need to look over those thirty pages, they’ll be due shortly.

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