Algonkian Writers Conference; Niagara

I feel like I’m in one of those isolation booths on a reality show. You know the ones. Where the contestants spill their inner most thoughts. Where they cry and sniffle. Where they preach about integrity while they back stab the other contestants, the whole time speaking in hushed tones.

Ok, leave out everything except the speaking in conspiratorial hushed voice. Come closer my children, I have a story to tell.



Ok,  I applied for, as only a select few can go, and was accepted into the Algonkian Writers Conference in Niagara, October 27-30, 2011. I’m scared shitless and excited all at once. Here it where reality slaps me in the face. Here is where those in the know tell me whether I’m a writer or a poser.

There is a notion that one’s family, friends, writing cronies and fellow writing groups are all giving bad advice. They are in essence, inflating our balloons with breaths of hope. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but the fact of the matter is, I’ve only ever received good feedback. Try as they may to hide it, all writers want an honest opinion. They won’t say aloud that they want at least one well thought out negative feedback, but they do. I do.

So I’m approaching this with a handful of balloons. Each one buoyed by feedback; each one a flimsy building block upon which the mansion of my writing career balances. The struggle will be, how many can I afford to lose before the house comes crashing down.

I’ll sit, knees knocking, mouth bleeding sand, while editors from some noted publishing houses as Penguin and Random House, inspect me, through my writing, to see whether I am worthy.

Three and a half days of learning how to sell myself and my books(s). Three and a half days to figure out where to stand my ground so my voice and vision aren’t overwhelmed by suggested edits to make my writing “market worthy”.

I’m sounding kinda literary aren’t I? I think I’m headed down that slippery literary writing slope. The interesting thing about this whole course will be in finding out where Literary writing fits in. The assigned reading was several classic and current literary novels. The interesting part is that literary novels are supposed to be the hardest to sell.

Great, now I have another thing eating at me, curiosity.

Nothing to do now but pack my balloons and hop into my carriage pulled in one direction by two horses, Excitement and Curiosity and in the opposite direction by a horse named Fear.

There is one saving grace, fellow Write Brains, writing group member and a former teacher instrumental in getting me this far, are going as well.

Did I mention this conference is reported to have a one in three success ratio? Gulp!


About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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10 Responses to Algonkian Writers Conference; Niagara

  1. Adele Simmons says:

    Go for it, Dale!
    You have a gift for story-telling. We all know it. Whatever is to be criticized is just part of honing your skills. Tell your stories! We’re your cheering squad.

  2. Dave Jones says:

    May your carriage never turn into a pumpkin yet may that horse named ‘Fear’ quickly morph into a cowering mouse and scurry to its hole.

    We certainly desire to have honest constructive criticism but when it comes it usualy harsher than we are prepared for. Keep your balloons fully inflated and your stick on the ice. Remember -Yoo da man! Keep us up to date on how it unfolds.

    Oh yeah, and ‘good luck’ if you need it buddy!


  3. Lisa Llamrei says:

    When that honest criticism comes, no matter how harsh it sounds, don’t take it as discouragement, but rather as a means of improving your skills.

    Wish I could be there, but I have every confidence you and Deepam will do us all proud.

  4. Dale Long says:

    Thanks guys! I am prepared for the criticism. Not saying it won’t sting. I have thick skin but I also have an ego that cries like a baby. 😉

  5. I want to go to YOUR conference. I’m sure you’ll wow them and get the feedback you both want and need. Good luck.

  6. Linda Cooper says:

    You are already successful, you have embraced your gift and are moving forward with it. You are inspiring us and showing us the way to move through the fear into the light! Way to go!

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