Paying It Forward

Writing communities are the most supportive and generous places I’ve found to get out of the dog-eat-dog rat race that is the rest of the world. Whether it’s the large writing circles, writing-related events or those small clusters of aspiring writers who gather to hone their craft and their quivering manuscript pages – writers are amazing!

So it should be no surprise that the editors and agents who participate at each year’s Ontario Writers’ Conference reflect that same generosity. This year’s OWC editors, working under the banner of Manuscript Mentoring, include:

[ul style=”2″]
[li]ex-Penguin editor/CEO Barbara Berson[/li]
[li]recently published author/former Lichen editor/Writescape co-founder Ruth E. Walker[/li]
[li]renowned editor Allyson Latta and more! [/li]
[/ul]
They will sit down in a Blue Pencil session with any writer to chat about the writing life, the process and any problems or issues with the writing itself. And these editors frequently mention they get as much back as they feel they give. Win-win! You’ve got to love that.

When it comes to an afternoon of Practice Pitches to agents, well, what can I say? There’s nothing like having the opportunity to test your pitch/proposal in front of the real deal in order to improve. In this day of selling yourself, having agents like Sam Hiyate and Alison MacDonald from The Rights Factory, Lien DeNil from Transatlantic or Stacey Donaghy from New York’s Corvisiero is a gift beyond belief. Again, these agents do this for the love of writers, pure and simple. To discover fabulous writing – secure a novice writer/client – and introduce their find to the world of publishing makes their pulse skip.

You might be one of those novice writers. You might feel fish-out-of-water about attending a conference. I promise that you, too, have something to pay forward. You’ll always find a writer who’s greener than you. You have wisdom and experience to pass onto those following behind. So participate. Don’t be shy. And you’ll feel so good being part of the community…

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