To go or not to go

Joe’s Post #153 —

headerThat is the question.

I’m talking about the Surrey Writer’s Conference. Oct 23rd -24th.

It’s a toss-up this year. Pros and cons.

So I did what I do when I can’t decide.

I make a list. And drink. Here’s the list.

the authors

My best writing buddies, The Five

Top 6 Reasons to Go

  1. I could pitch 2 books to an editor who’s interested in my genre.
  2. There are 3 agents there I could take to about my books.
  3. 9/10 times I get inspired.
  4. The food’s pretty good.
  5. I love to learn and there’s always something to learn.
  6. My best writing buddies are there.


Top 5 Reasons Not To Go

  1. don maassDon Maass is NOT there. See #3. He is my biggest inspirer.
  2. No Chuck Wendig, so that means I won’t spend 2 hours laughing my ass off and I do love to laugh my ass off.
  3. It costs a lot of money at a time that I don’t have that money.
  4. Most of the agents showing up don’t want to look at the books I write, or I’ve pitched to them and they’ve rejected my brilliant stories.
  5. I can’t find a full day of things I want to do. There’s a bit Friday and Saturday, but that’s a huge cost for basically 2 half days.
  6. My best writing buddies will not be there. Joe sad.

I tell ya, it’s a tough call. Not that there aren’t some great people there, not that there aren’t a few good workshops, and it’s always amazingly well organized, but this year, I may choose not to go. The weight of the list is clearly on the No side, but then there’s #1 on the Go side.

Is it worth it?



5 thoughts on “To go or not to go

  1. So… my thought is that #2 on the ‘go’ side is the most important: “9/10 times I get inspired.”

    a) Search your soul and answer honestly:

    How inspired have you felt lately? If you say ‘no’ that would dictate ‘go’.

    b) But I’m a lawyer, and we love “on the other hand” and my other hand would say: for the cost of signing up: find two full days away from dogs, kids, leaky faucets, blogging, football, gaming and -the-prettiest-girl-in-the-world. Then for the same price as the SIWC, (or less) check in somewhere with great WiFi, (it could be a cabin in the woods or a luxury hotel like Fairmont) and for 48 solid hours, write, write, write.

    c) Oh wait, – here’s a plan, the perfect negotiated compromise. Sign up for SIWC, check into the Sheraton Guilford, make appointments to see the agents you want, go to the courses, seminars you want, spend the other 48 hours in the bar, with great WiFi, surrounded by agents and fellow writers and write 10,000 words a day.

    So I’d pick option ‘C’, and you might even surprise yourself by making a great contact with an agent or editor while in the bar, actually ‘writing’.

    Just my thoughts,

  2. I’d second Paula’s replay and add that while your favorite writing buddies may not be there, what better opportunity to meet new writing buddies?

  3. Go… because you just never know what might happen this year. You are on a roll (remember that contest?) Remember that is can sometimes be that conversation in the bar that makes all the weekend worthwhile.
    And biggest reason… because I’m going and I want to see you.

    And to you and all the gang!!!!! I’m conducting a poll (on twitter) about who has been your favourite keynote speaker / speech…. sounds like you have a fav… can I add it into the votes!

  4. I’d have to say GO. I can’t make it every year — it’s financially impossible — but whenever I go, I find being immersed for a whole weekend in an atmosphere devoted to writing and publication is SO worth it. The pitching appointments may not appeal to you, but there is great advantage in the Blue Pencil appointments where you can get some unbiased feedback on your manuscript. And out of approximately 80 workshops there have to be some that can offer you useful information. There are always old and new writing connections to make, too. I met one of my critique group partners at SiWC. I think good conferences are very worthwhile experiences.

  5. Joe, it looks like your advisors are all in accord. You should GO. If I was not going to be on the road during SIWC weekend, I would be going. For sure. I will really miss it. It’s my once-a-year shot of writing adrenalin (although, saying that, I realize I open myself up to the fair criticism that it hasn’t always guaranteed my productivity … still, it helps).

    Here’s the thing: living so close to Surrey we are incredibly lucky to be able to go to one of the largest and best writers conferences in North America (according to many of the professional presenters who go to lots of these things) … for CHEAP! No airfare! Reasonable hotel rates! Very fair conference fees! No extra costs for agent appointments (yes, they do this elsewhere)!

    But you do have to be “in the mood” to get the most out of it.

    I’ll add a couple of reasons to the “go” side: Sarah Wendell and Sean Cranbury on social media; Robert Dugoni and Hallie Ephron on mystery/thrillers; Chris Humphreys (from Saltspring!) on how to write a fight scene … he’s a professional fight choreographer; Jack Whyte for every possible reason, including just breathing the same air.

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