Well, I politely informed my sweet relation that even though my writing was publishable, it didn’t mean I’d learned all there is to know about writing. On the contrary, I’ve probably only scratched the surface of writing potential. I presently write in the historical/medieval fiction genre, but if I ever try a new genre, I’ll need to learn and research anew. But even remaining in one genre an author should NEVER feel, even after countless publications, there’s nothing more to be learned. Such an author is prideful and in need of a reality check. The world is ever changing, as are writing styles, desired content and audiences. There’s always SOMETHING to be gained and applied to writing to make it better, whether it’s a new idea or simply a reminder of something forgotten.
I don’t write (at least for now) science fiction and fantasy, but I attended a sci-fi/fantasy class because I liked and respected the author presenting it. I came away with awesome notes and pointers that pertained to my medieval fiction genre. You can’t really separate the writing processes into genres. Yes, different genres have differences story content, but at the base, the formation of grammar, characterization, pacing, dialogue, action, plot and structure are the same.
I came away with OODLES of notes to help me improve from guest speakers and presenters who included authors Andrew Smith, Marion Jensen, Elana Johnson, Barry Eisler, Dinty Moore, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, and marketing/publicity guru Kirk Cunningham of Jolly Fish Press. There were others whose classes I couldn’t attend because of overlapping class times, and I’m sorry for that. I missed some equally awesome classes presented by Sarah M. Eden (one of my FAVORITE authors), Maxwell Alexander Drake, Chadd VanZanten, Annette Lyon, Robison Wells, Dianne Hardy, Margot Hovley, Heidi Thornock, Daniel Coleman and Ali Cross.
On top of the information acquired at a conference, there’s the added benefit of the encouragement to keep going, keep trying, keep your hopes up, and to KEEP WRITING. The joy of mingling and conversing with fellow authors can’t be duplicated as they come from all walks of life, have diverse personalities and write all types of genres. The warm camaraderie and respect from other writers is uplifting. Even the meals are delightful, for me anyway. My favorite this year was the baked chicken and wild rice with large decadent slice of triple chocolate cake for dessert (that was for the awards banquet on Friday night). Shhh, don't tell my diet I splurged this weekend.
Never stop learning in some way or another.