Monday, March 26, 2007

Heading in the Right Direction -- Robin

On Saturday, I headed south to find north. My Super Agent, Erin Murphy, put on a workshop in Santa Barbara called “Finding Your True North as a Writer.”

It was an eventful day for me, because not only was I learning how to set my goals as a writer, I was meeting my agent in person for the first time! (And yes, I checked my teeth...twice. Fine, four times.)

Erin’s workshop was wonderful and I started thinking about the process of becoming “an author” in much deeper ways. I suppose the easiest part for me was writing about what my perfect writing life would look like…

• Write every morning from nine till noon.
• Go running on an isolated trail overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
• Meet Jay and Eve for coffee.
• Rush back home to thank my housekeeper for all the hard work.

So maybe my perfect writing life hasn’t happened yet, but at least I’m meeting Jay and Eve for coffee on a regular basis!

After the workshop, I got to hang out with Erin in downtown Santa Barbara (very lovely, but, man, it was cold!). We discussed my career and what I’d like to do in the future. Then I spent about 30 minutes stumbling through my words trying to explain my idea for my next book. She listened patiently while I rambled on, then she sat back in her seat, let out a big sigh, and said, “I absolutely love it!”

Whew! That was all I needed to hear to make it a perfect day. But it got even better because I went out to dinner with Erin, Alexis O’Neill (our regional advisor), Val Hobbs, and two other clients of Erin’s, Mary Hershey and Robin LaFevers.

I acted very lady-like, didn’t use any foul language, and watched them eat lovely salads and salmon dishes while I scarfed down a cheeseburger. Actually, Val scarfed one down, too, so she’s my new BFF. (Sorry Jay and Eve.)

Oh! And I was so glad to meet Cynthia Jaynes Omololu, another client of Erin’s, who came down from San Francisco. Utterly…cool…chick! And she’s almost as tall as I am, so we’ll get along just fine.

And Greg Trine was in the house. Hi, Greg!

A big thanks to my Super Agent for making it a lovely day and for being a totally lovely person. I know she’ll lead me in the right direction and make this process all the much sweeter.

- Robin


Natalie said...

Oooh, I've been waiting for this post, Robin! Can I just say how envious I am?? You both look great--no sign of cheeseburger or salad in anyone's teeth... Now when are you guys coming to Italy so I can meet you both in person??

:-) Natalie

Anonymous said...

It's great to have an ally in this business.
I've been with my same agent for 22 years!

Had the pleasure of meeting Erin in Alabama for an SCBWI regional conference. We all stayed in the RA's home. Tell her I said hi!

PS It's taken a long time to figure out, there is no perfect writing/art life. That lightbulb flash has helped me to breathe better and lay off myself on days that nothing gets done. Like today! Just handed in all my art and went through the process of revisions to come but the publisher still has my art. At first the thought of finally cleaning my house after a few weeks of deadline fever and neglect seemed like fun. But today is going to be in the 70's here in NYC so I might just stay outside all day doing nothing related to books. And I plan to do it well :)

toodles, Melanie Mermaid #122854

Anonymous said...

Robin, it was a fantastic time! I loved the workshop *and* all the bonus time with you. That hamburger looked really, really good. I couldn't watch you eat it, though--it was like an episode of Animal Planet or something. (No, seriously, you didn't have anything in your teeth the entire time I was with you, so no worries!)

I must not have done a good job of making it clear that Heather Tomlinson, also at the workshop, was my client, 'cause both you and Cyn didn't mention her when you named the other Erinites. She's the one who held up her brand-new ARC, THE SWAN MAIDEN, which is just gorgeous. And she's here:

Hey, Melanie, thanks for the shout-out! That conference was a trip, wasn't it?


Laini Taylor said...

Your ideal writing life sounds great to me too -- however mine right now looks like writing from 6 am to 10 pm with meal breaks and a nap! Considering those insane hours, I should get more done. But I'm not so speedy. Glad you had a good time and met your agent, and that she liked your new idea! And, I am really starting to envy your Mermaid friendship -- you guys are very lucky to have such a great creative support system!

cynjay said...

You're just lucky I live so far away, or you all would start to notice a very tall, stripey-haired writer-type sneaking up on your coffee sessions and trying to worm her way in. It's great to have that day to day support. Everyone - Robin is wonderful; you can tell from the minute you meet her.

I did see Heather and her fabulous ARC, but I guess I didn't realize that she was one of Erin's. Now I feel like I missed out ;(

LindaBudz said...

Sounds like fun! Sometimes I get so envious of you folks on the West Coast ... seems as though you get together more than we do here in the East!

Cute picture, and I'm glad to hear Erin liked your story idea! Hope you have a great time and learn a lot while writing it!

Ruth McNally Barshaw said...

How nice to read this review of the conference. Congrats to all who got to meet.
Ruth :)

(I'm having trouble posting. If this shows up twice it means I am very sincere) ;)

Chris Barton said...

Glad to hear that meeting her in person went so well, and a little envious at getting to see so many of her other clients...

Did Erin begin her presentation by singing Buck Owens' "Streets of Bakersfield"? She'd pretty much promised me that she would.

Disco Mermaids said...

Hey, it's so nice to see other Erinites commenting! Now I feel like I have a whole other support group!

And Chris, sorry to say, Erin's presentation was given without dramatic singing. Though I personally enjoyed the Ninja Turtle Kickboxing demonstration. Girl can kick!


Greg T. said...

Hey Robin,
Nice to see you on Saturday. Yeah, Erin was great! Now if I can only talk her into representing yours truly.

Greg T.

Mary Hershey said...

Hi, Robin!

What a great picture of you and Erin! I'm so glad you got to spend time with her on Saturday.
She loved hanging out with you. So did I! And, I had a giant cheeseburger last night... :->

Robin, I'm feeling your pain about the housekeeping thing-- truly. I have a tiny case of Attentive Compulsive Order, and had a really hard time writing if things were a mess. My partner hired someone finally to come clean, which was so lovely of her to do-- it has made a big difference for me. It only took me a few months to get out of the habit of cleaning the house before the housekeeper came, making cookies for her, etc. I had a whole new gig going about taking care of her. Gawd!

I'm lighting several candles down my mental runway for you that you'll find a way to make this happen. You deserve it!

Mary Hershey

topangamaria said...

I'm still trying to figure out how that Saturday workshop felt so intimate being there were 40 plus people in the room. Really interesting experience. I didn't realize the high percentage of Erinites in the room as Erin didn't play favorites. She didn't sing either. But Alexis did a mean closing number (writer variation) on the song Happy Trails that was remarkable.

a. fortis said...

I am completely in agreement with you on the perfect writing life! If only! (It would help if I lived about 80 miles closer to the actual ocean, too...) Glad you had such a great meeting with your agent, too.