Paying It Forward
by Maxine Marsolini, OCW President
Paying it forward is typically considered a way to bless others. But why not gift ourselves with that same piece of good fortune?
OCW’s 2013 summer conference took place in mid-August. I came home tired but also totally blessed, jazzed, and more convinced than ever of why it’s important to invest money in our own passion for writing.
Those in attendance know just what I’m talking about. Like me, you were rubbing elbows with the industry’s best and happy to be in the midst of the action. I didn’t hear complaints about the cost to immerse ourselves for four days in writers’ paradise. Quite the opposite. Most were aware those dollars were being put to good use. Only at a writers’ conference can people serious about their craft gain uncomplicated face-to-face access to the experts. OCW makes it possible for the professionals to come to the conferees.
A conference with benefits is another way to wrap one’s mind around this kind of event. Building rapport with the experts creates relationship, makes us memorable, and has the potential to move our work to the top of the heap rather than lie buried beneath hundreds of other manuscripts. There is no better way to stay current on the craft of writing than to attend a conference. It’s not unusual for a writer to be rewarded with a personal request from an editor for a query letter or a manuscript proposal.
It’s smart to think of a conference as a way to pay it forward—to ourselves. Publishers, editors, and agents come to these events not only to mentor us, but also because they want to find quality pieces to publish. They need writers to partner with and we need the publishing experts to move our writing into the marketplace.
Fresh material will always be needed to satisfy a perpetual swarm of readers yearning for more books, articles, stories, poems, greeting cards, technical information, and puzzles to set their eyes upon. For all of us writers, that’s very good news.
In a few short weeks OCW will host its fall conference. Will you consider paying it forward to yourself? Will you seize an opportunity to polish your craft and network with peers? Another outstanding keynote speaker, numerous workshops, and mentors await.