top of page
  • Writer's pictureSara Parker

Engaging with the Writing Community

In line with my renewed commitment to resurrect my writing, I took PTO and drove myself to Austin this weekend for the 2024 Agents & Editors Conference.

I am proud to report that I have come a long way since the last time I attended a writing conference and spent much of the time holed up in my hotel room alone and blaming my introverted nature.

My favorite part of this conference, so far, has been the opportunity to meet writers of all genres, listen to their stories, and exchange ideas about the business and the craft.

During Friday night's reception, I sat at a table with a writer of early middle grades fiction, a writer of new adult fantasy, and a writer of futuristic YA. And while I don't tend to gravitate toward any of those genres, I found myself inspired by their pitches, their energy and their courage.

This morning, I waited in a quiet room employing every breathing technique I've learned in therapy over the past six years to help combat the anxiety I felt about pitching a half-baked idea to a well-known and widely respected literary agent. Former me would have bowed out, but I stayed the course, and guess what. The agent did not request to see any of my materials, but I also didn't expire on the spot from anxiety. We had a conversation about the idea, she offered feedback that helped me gain some clarity, and I left the room with a sense of peace that I had taken the next right step.

During the keynote luncheon, I sat next to a genetic scientist and found myself fascinated by the topic he was planning to pitch to an agent. Later, while waiting for a session to begin, I befriended a fellow adjunct English professor and exchanged strategies for combatting AI in the world of academia. And during the evening reception, I met a 70-year-old not-yet-published writer who had pitched her women's fiction book idea to an agent that morning and had received a request for her full manuscript. [Side note: she is heading out to the Camino de Santiago in a few weeks, a pilgrimage hike that rather recently made it onto my list of Things I Really Want to Do.]

I am finding a common thread in every conversation: these are writers honoring their passion for writing through consistent work and with no guarantee of "success" (aka, publication). But they have hope, and that hope is contagious. So, it seems to me that investing time in the writing community is going to continue to be an important part of this journey I'm on. Since I began pitching poems and personal essays at the age of 12 to a long list of magazines I'd highlighted in a fat paperback 1991 version of Writer's Market, writing has always been a dream. Except now I know better. Writing is quite simply part of who I am, and I'm finally embracing that.

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page