Killer Nashville has come and gone, and I’m still flying high from the interaction with so many authors and friends (and two requests for a full manuscript for a new series that I’ve been concepting). I was blessed to see some people whom I haven’t seen since the SEMWA Outer Banks Retreat in April, and even more people that I haven’t seen since Killer Nashville last year. And learn. Holy cow did I learn! It’s hard to even know where to start, and since I’ve waiting so long since the end of the conference to even tell you about it, let’s just hit the highest point I can think of. Motivation.
Until I started really trying to attend more writer’s conferences a few years ago, I never would have believed how much motivation you can walk away from a conference with. Killer Nashville is the premier mystery writer’s conference, which is good for me. It means I get to hobnob with people who fully understand that daydreaming about ways to murder people doesn’t mean that I’m a homicidal maniac. I’m just a writer with a story to tell.
One of the coolest things that I’ve discovered about conference in general is the whole theory that I subscribe to, anyway. We’re all just average writers who are unique in our own way. We all struggle with our own demons and the things that life throws at us. We all spend equal amounts of time wondering if we’re failures and entranced by how brilliant we are. And we all – well, most of us – struggle to carve out the time the time to write around jobs and families and daily life. But we’re all pretty unique, too.
One of the guest speakers this year was Janet Evanovich. I didn’t have the luxury to meet her in person, but I did get to sit right up front at the lunch event where she was the featured speaker. Now, there’s an average writer who did something truly unique. Janet started as a romance writer, but she told the audience how she realized that roman has a limited future, and she wanted to write something different. So she did. And it wasn’t necessarily met with open arms.
She persisted and eventually her books – a romantic suspense mixture that gets super intense – took off. Some might even consider her a pioneer in romantic suspense.
Even better than taking off, her first book in this new style, One for the Money, was optioned for a movie with a nice advance. She took that money, turned it inward and has since built a family business out of her writing. How cool is that? She did her thing and it worked out for her. Janet is a unique person, and a unique writer. As we all are.
If i took nothing else away from this Killer Nashville, it would be that unique and average are terms that apply to all writers. Even the household names like Janet Evanovich, Robert Randisi, Kevin O’Brien, and Anne Perry (who is British and has an amazing accent, by the way) are all just average writers. They share the same struggles, fears, and challenges that we do. But they’re also all unique from their working styles, to their writing voice, to their books and characters. What works for them might not work for you or me, but that’s okay, because we’re unique and average in our own right, and that works for us.