Wednesday, November 2

Guest Author David N. Walker: A Tale of Two Writers

And our guest spree wraps up today with David N. Walker, telling us a tale about some folks you'll likely recognize. It's a moving story and he really drives the home the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity you get -- even if you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes to do it. and the remarkable things that can happen when you do.

David and I are doing a bit of a blog swap today, so when you're done here, pop on over to his blog and read how I develop my characters

David is a Christian father and grandfather and a grounded pilot. He cofounded Warrior Writers Boot Camp with Kristen Lamb. You can read more of his posts at http://davwalk.wordpress.com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

Take it away David...

Several years ago Kristen Lamb rode with me to Midwest City, Oklahoma, to the Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc’s (OWFI) annual writers’ conference. Neither of us had ever been to a writers’ conference before, and we didn’t know what to expect.

Since I loved traveling in my motorhome, we took it. I stayed in an RV park several miles from the conference site, using my tow car to get back and forth. Kristen stayed in a hotel adjacent to the main conference hotel.

Being a natural wallflower—come on now, surely I’m not alone in that among writers—I pretty much kept my head down. I knew nothing about any of the presenters and just selected sessions to attend based on whim. In between sessions, I wandered around the area speaking to the few people I knew, which meant those from our group.

Long ago experience in various Optimist Club offices had taught me that most conference banquet food was hardly worth eating, so I had not purchased tickets to attend those events. After the sessions were I went out to dinner alone and then back to the RV park.

Kristen, on the other hand, is the type person who can walk into a room full of strangers and know half of them in a few minutes’ time. She spent her time networking with people from all over. By the time we left, she knew a number of people from around Texas and Oklahoma. She also attended the banquets both nights, meeting more people there and letting her face become familiar to many of them.

Later in the evening, while I was sitting in my motorhome reading, Kristen was in the HQ hotel bar hobnobbing. She’d happened to sit in on a session presented by Bob Mayer, who neither of us had ever heard of, and was greatly impressed with him. Over drinks during the evenings we were there, she got to know him well enough that they became friends and regular correspondents.

When we left the conference to return home, I had gained little other than a total lack of desire to attend any more conferences. She, on the other hand, had established several friendships, including one with Bob Mayer that was to change both of our lives.

Over the next year, she stayed in close touch with him. She also developed an interest in internet social networking, partially in order to advise him on some things he was working on.

As a result of all of that, Kristen became one of the premier—if not the premier—experts in the field of social media for writers and decided to write a book on the subject. Because of her friendship with Bob, she had an inside track to get her book, We Are Not Alone, the Writer’s Guide to Social Media published through Who Dares Wins Publishing, which Bob had just established.

As a result of that, she was invited to speak to a large writers’ conference in Los Angeles. While there she met and formed a friendship with James Rollins which ended up with his introducing her to his agent, who has signed on to represent her.

Over the three plus years since the OWFI conference, Kristen has become not only a successfully published author but also and internationally known expert in the niche she has carved for herself. Her blog is read by upwards of 20,000 people each month, and she is followed by thousands on both Twitter and Facebook.

During that same three years, my main claim to fame is having co-founded Warrior Writers Boot Camp with her. My blogs are read by a few hundred people each month.

The point of all this is not woe is me or that I have no hope of success. Not at all. The point is that we writers all have opportunities to advance both our skills in our craft and our platforms as people of influence worthy to be published. We can sit in a corner, or an RV park, and let opportunity drift by, or we can jump on it with both feet and take the best possible advantage of it.

5 comments:

  1. Great post of a subject I don't read on often. I'll keep this in mind once I reach the "writer's conferences" phrase.

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  2. Great post, David. I couldn't have done a lot of it without you *hugs*. Networking is a HUGE part of a writer's success, especially in the new paradigm. We have to get out of that comfort zone. If we aren't failing, we aren't doing anything interesting.

    Thanks for this awesome post!

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  3. This is such good advice! I am a really outgoing person in venues that I'm comfortable in. But put me somewhere new or where I am low-man-on-the-totem-pole, and I want to just sit in a corner and talk to the one person I know.

    *takes a deep breath*

    Thank you for your honest sharing. This is a lesson that I need to learn and the sooner I have it in my expectations, the easier it will be to enact.

    Thanks David and Janice!

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  4. CO, there are so many opportunities at conferences. I don't think I've ever been to one that didn't lead to something helpful.

    Kristen, thanks for stopping by! Your story really illustrates how we make our own "luck" in this biz.

    Amelia, the one nice thing about a writers conference is a lot of folks feel the same way. But every single person you meet has the same thing in common - you're all writers. If nothing else, you can talk about that. It helps break the ice.

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  5. Thanks for your words of encouragement, Kristen.

    Thanks for sharing your feelings, CO and Amelia. I wrote this to encourage others to be Kristens and not Davids when opportunities arise.

    And thanks, Janice, for letting me post on your site.

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