A long time ago, in a far away place.... Okay, so it was about six or so years ago in Washington, D.C., I attended a writers retreat put on by Algonkian Conferences and a man called Michael Neff. I arrived at Dulles Airport after dark and took a cab to the cabin which was located in a state park not far from D.C. For a moment I thought the cab driver was taking me someone to kill me as I had no idea where I was going. He didn't, but over the next couple of days I wondered if it wouldn't have been less painful.
Ten students, both male and female shared two five bedroom cabins along the edge of the Potomac River. It was lovely and we were all hopeful. We would spend a full week there, writing, critiquing, etc. The first day or two Michael Neff read us the riot act, explaining that most writers never go far because they give up, or worse yet just don't write. To tell you the truth, his attacks or (sharing of information)had the ten of us banding together against him like warriors. It took us the entire week to realize the value of what he had to say. We really didn't know anything!
We were cocky, over confident and just too green to realize we didn't know what we didn't know! But Michael Neff became the second (my husband was the first) of many to give me good, sound advice, advice that moved me step-by-step to where I am today.
Because of Michael Neff, a year later I attended and pitched a book in one of his New York Pitch Conferences. It was a book I hadn't even written but got a nice response from two publishers for a book that didn't exist! What I learned from the conference and from Michael, was how far I had to go. So I started on my degree, a degree that will culminate in May with a terminal degree and wrote a book! For that I will be ever grateful to Michael Neff.
Funny how people come and go in your life influencing you without you even understanding the effect they have had on you. Because this is the Christmas Season I want to blog about several of the people that have influenced me in my life, then ask you to reflect on and then thank those that have made a difference in your life!
For more information on Michael Neff's New York Pitch Conference see
Aloha from Kauai!