At this point in my writing life I haven’t attended any writers’ conferences except a local annual one called The Write Stuff, which is run by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, so my experience with them is limited. However, after attending several Write Stuff conferences I have learned that they emphasize helping writers to establish a profitable writing career. They include workshops on the craft of writing as well, but even those seem to concentrate on writing that will sell. The whole idea of writing seems to be sales. That’s important, of course, if someone wants to make a living, or at least supplement their income, by writing. The workshops are about getting published, establishing a brand, creating websites and Facebook pages, and convincing readers to follow you online. The featured speakers are people who have written dozens of books and seem to think that is a commendable attribute. This is all well and good for writers who are young enough to have at least ten or fifteen years to devote to getting started in a writing career that features an extensive book list. I don’t.
Although I have been writing all my life, I have come late to the publishing party. My goal, therefore, is not to launch a writing career, but to realize what it is that I must write, and get it done. I need to get it all down on paper or screen before it is too late. Everything that I have ever wanted to write is bubbling up inside me and screaming to be heard. I have to face the fact that I will simply not live long enough to write it all down. Having gotten a late start, for me a lifelong writing career is going to be a short one. I’ve got to sift though all of the ideas and titles and paragraphs and pages I’ve accumulated, narrow them down to the essence of what I need to say, and say it fast. Yes, I do regret not having started this process forty years ago. There are lots of reasons why, and I know them all too well. But that was then and this is now. And so I have begun a very short writing career that I hope will be remarkable - not profitable in dollars and cents, but rewarding in the satisfaction that I will literally have the last word. I hope that I will still be writing on the last day of my life, and that someone will still want to read what I wrote long after.