The very first talk I attended as a writer – ever – was Cherry Adair’s master class, given at ECWC. The title of her talk escapes me, but her course involved spending several hours learning about character development. It was frankly, life changing relative to my writing process. (If you ever have a chance to hear Cherry speak, don’t ask questions. Just go.) The other (writing)life changing piece was her advice to use medicine as part of my author platform. You see, I’d gone into that first conference thinking that no way would I share with anyone that I’m a physician because #1) writing credibility reduced and #2) privacy. So basically, yes, I was clueless.
Cherry took all of ten seconds consideration before saying something to the effect of “Honey, that’s your platform. Use it.”
As it turns out, blending medicine and writing? Not so difficult, since there is zero way I can completely separate Dr. Jill from writer Jillian. And once I figured out the privacy piece, I feel a lot better about the blend. But what I did this year with the workshops at ECWC takes that blending to a scary new level. This where I put it all out there, together, and see how it goes…
I’ll be giving a talk on “Medicine, Manuscripts, and Mayhem”. Funny and terrifying, if you consider I feel personally qualified to speak on only one of those three title items. Big time imposter syndrome going on. But I’ve also been personally challenged by a mentor to ‘do things that scare me’ with the writing this year, so I took a big leap and there we went. Guess what? If all I do is talk about medicine for 90 minutes, and it helps other writers, then that’ll be okay.
The other talk is the one that makes me feel 100% imposter. “Fastdrafting 101”. It’s outside of my comfort zone and expertise. It’s all about this writing process that I’m still figuring out for myself. But I’m excited to try and teach this one, since fastdrafting is the best way I know to get a draft done, with my crazy schedule. There have to be other writers out there who work weird shifts and have exhausting schedules and lives. If I can give an author colleague a new way to produce a book that works for them, then my job will be done.
At the risk of sounding like I'm plugging the conference, seriously, if you are considering ECWC, it’s well worth it. There are always excellent agents/editors in the industry for us to pitch books, outstanding workshops, networking opportunities, lots of nice people, and a fabulous reader appreciation event on Saturday. And you can come to one of my talk and heckle.... Or just say hi!