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Those crazy connections… January 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 7:22 PM
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I attended the WCDR breakfast this morning and listened intently as Hilary McMahon – an agent from Westwood Creative Artists – gave a frank talk about the challenges of getting published and landing a literary agent in today’s industry. Tough love – which could either motivate or discourage – but either way, it does open your eyes to the reality of the publishing world.

It’s amazing how many people want to write a book and just assume the penning of the novel will be the hard part. Not so. That’s just the beginning. The writer’s road has been one of the most arduous paths I’ve ever taken. At the same time though – it’s been the most gratifying. I think the same could be said for anyone following their dreams. As my mother says – you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.

Hilary’s advice inspired me to work harder, keep going, keep trying. Tough love works on me it seems. Who knew?

My blogging basics workshop after the breakfast went well too. The room was filled with dynamic writers with so many questions – they really kept me on my toes! It was amazing and I shouldn’t be surprised – after all – these were WCDR members! One thing I talked about in the workshop is building connection with readers. As a blogger that’s my goal – to connect to all of you. Sort of a virtual kitchen table that we sit around discussing stuff that matters and some stuff that doesn’t, and sip hot coffee and eat too much pound cake.  Except there’s no table, coffee or pound cake. But there is talk, and I always hope we can find connection. You can’t necessarily explain why one person connects to another, but there’s something undeniably there.

It’s like how one parenting blog can make you feel like a good parent, a normal parent, or at least not alone. Whereas another parenting blog seems like crazy talk and leaves you feeling like you wear the parental dunce cap. You just don’t connect to that “type” of parent. For whatever reason – you just don’t jive, no connection. You accept the differences. Variety is indeed the spice of life. I believe that whole-heartedly.

As I drove home today in the soon-to-be dark late afternoon, the frigid wind mixed with cold temperatures that reached a low of -14, I saw a man running down the street. Jogging actually, in full running man gear and pushing a running stroller with two wee tots inside. And that moment affirmed that I spoke the truth this afternoon.There are some people you’ll never connect to or understand. Not in a million years. I guess connection doesn’t just have to do with language, and some of what you see and hear is indeed crazy.

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21 Responses to “Those crazy connections…”

  1. jaxyogini Says:

    Thanks for a great workshop, Noelle. I learned a lot, I hope I’m smart enough to apply it. I think connection is probably why we all write, it’s also why I teach yoga. I believe that connection is our main driver, it’s why we form relationships, it’s why we get out of bed and it’s also how we survive. Hope to connect to you again soon.

    • Smart enough – no doubt. Disciplined enough – that’s the challenge. Maybe we should challenge each other – for you to blog and me to do yoga. I need the push to do that for myself. I wish I lived closer so we could strike the deal and I’d feel too guilty to back out! There are so many great yoga places up north, maybe we should work on the honour system? I’ll go to yoga – you get blogging!

      • jaxyogini Says:

        Deal! But, you have to come to Uxbridge to practice at least once to prove that you’re doing it. 🙂

      • Ohhh – you are tricky. Called my bluff I see. Getting to Uxbridge to practice once isn’t nearly the challenge that getting to a class 10 minutes from my home on a regular basis will be. I wonder if I just youtube yoga, can fake knowing what I’m doing? LOL. I will let you know when I have been good to myself and am doing the downward dog. I hope to get to a studio by the end of this month. Wish me luck.

  2. Thanks for a fun workshop!

    In regards to Hilary’s advice, I loved it! Tough love works for me too, even if I make a sour face or two when receiving such
    affect(inflict?)tion

  3. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    If I hadn’t already decided on self-publishing, Hilary’s talk would have done it for sure. I admire your patience and perseverance going after a traditional publisher. I know you’ll get there – with your talent, how can you not?

    Thanks again for the great workshop.

    • Self puclishing? This is new news to me Lisa – I’d like to talk about it with you next time we meet. Interesting.

      It was great to have you front and center – it reminded me to exhale and take a breath on occassion. 🙂

  4. Noelle — great post. Fabulous workshop. I learned so much from you and am working out my plan for blogging. And yes, tough love from Hilary is looming large and lumpy in the attempt to swallow. But swallow it we must.

    13 years after first submitting my first ms, I finally landed it with a publisher. Perseverence and working on my craft finally won entry past the gatekeeper. But even now, I don’t expect agents will be knocking at my door. It’s a tough road indeed — for writers and for agents. And publishers, editors, publicists, distributors, retailers, etc., etc., etc.

    Given the choice, would I do it again? Soldier on after rejection and all too often, just being ignored completely.
    It isn’t the writing the book. It probably isn’t even the contract negotiations, the difficult edits, and all the work to get the final product ready for the publisher. It’s what happens after the launches, the celebrations and anxious wait for the reviews. Oh please like me. Like me please…

    Most first books have a shelf life of mere weeks before they are tossed into the discount bin.

    Discouraging? Better believe it. So, would I do it again? Ask me next winter, after I’ve had the fall to see how the early days turn out. But, thanks to you and your workshop, I know the other notch I need to add to my Belt of Reality For Writers. Join the conversation.

    • Oh Ruth – how is it that even your comments on a blog response read like poetry? I don’t know a writer that deserves that bound book in their hands more than you. I’m glad you’ll be blogging up until that night, keeping us posting on what’s happening.

      I love writing. And like any true love – it has good days and bad. Sometimes love can break your heart. Sometimes love can make you feel alone, misunderstood, and unloved. But on the good days (or weeks or years) love makes you feel alive. It is indeed as nessasary as the air we breathe.

      Let’s not kid ourselves fellow word lover – we would do it again, no matter the outcome of my agent search or your whirlwind fall and winter on the road to publication. Of course we would love again – how could we not?

  5. Dave Jones Says:

    Noelle; You are one of the spices in this life that makes it tasty indeed. Yoo da woman!

  6. Bil Swan Says:

    Noelle:
    So, you see, the tables are turned completely. He once was the teacher is now the student; and she who was the student is now the teacher. I enjoyed your seminar, and found more new stuff there than in Hilary’s talk, even though that was challenging and inspiring at the same time. You have given me a couple of ideas for promotion of my new book (REAL JUSTICE: Fourteen and sentenced to Death — the story of Steven Truscott for older young adult readers.) Inspiration: that’s what it’s about. Any workshop that provides one really good idea or inspiration is a success. Yours provided several. What more need I say?
    Bill Swan
    http://www.billswan.ca

    • Hi Bill – I just mentioned to Gavy how it felt to teach an old teacher – or rather a past teacher. I’ve done it once before with my grade school French teacher, and it’s an odd experience. It definitely gives me a shot of nerves – but they say that boosts performance, so it all works out. It was great to see you there, and wonderful to hear that I have given you inspiration. I’m beaming.

      On another note – I can’t wait to read your book – I have a feeling it will be one I have to read cover to cover without putting it down. When does it come out – March?

  7. It never gets old. 😉 Thanks Dave.

  8. Colleen Says:

    Sounds like your blogging session was a resounding success! I was unable to squeeze in to your packed event but then I didn’t sign up for the meeting until the night before. Silly me. Is it possible that you may do an additional session on blogging again for WCDR in Ajax? I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

    ~Colleen

    • Thanks Colleen. And guess what? It is possible that I will do an additional session on blogging in Durham. (thanks for asking, I’ll give you your $5 later…lol)

      I’m holding a 3-Hour hands-on course, “Blogging Basics and Beyond” at the Trent University Campus.

      We’ll use mind mapping to outline the essential elements of blogging – the why, what, who, and how of your blog, including time to brainstorm post ideas and you’ll have time to write a blog post and receive in-class feedback about if you are found the right voice for the target audience you’re looking for. This workshops helps you come away with a blog plan!
      Tuesday February 21 6:30-9:30, or Sunday February 26th 1-4 pm, Trent Campus, Oshawa.
      $45 WCDR/WCSC/WCYR Members/$50 Non Members

      You can go to my website to register and pay online via paypal, or at least register your spot. http://www.boundbytheword.com

      Hope to see you there!

      • Colleen Says:

        Yay! That’s all I need to say. Now I just have to follow through and sign up! Thanks so much.

        Colleen

  9. Mel Says:

    Thanks for the workshop, I’m now blogging on my new site I started here. I’m finding WCDR such a supportive group, and this was only my 2nd time out. (Even thought that was the sweetest breakfast I’ve ever had) Looking forward to many more breakfasts and workshops in the future.
    -Mel

  10. Dale Long Says:

    45 ‘students’? I’d call that a resonding success! Although it’s no surprise that you captivate a blogging audience, in real life you captivate a room. The spotlight justs finds you.
    I’ve always said there are two types of spotlight people, the one that go looking for it and the one that the spotlight finds all on it’s own. The latter is the one worth watching.
    I’ve heard Hilary speak twice. Once at the OWC and again at the breakfast, and as much as the publishing world frustrates me, she is a breath of fresh air. Her honesty and frankness renews my hope.
    I actually thanked her for her rejection e-mail. She said she’d never been thanked for a rejection before.


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