The Fizziest Midwest Writer’s Workshop Wrap-Up You’ll Ever Read

Hello my darlings!

So, yesterday I returned from this year’s Midwest Writer’s Workshop.

1. I am so tired. So. Freaking. Tired.


In case I haven’t made it clear with all my love songs on this blog, I love MWW. Love it. LOVE.

Last year was my first year, and it was pretty much the best experience ever. This year was extra special because not only was I able to hang out with my lovely agent whom I met and signed with because of MWW last year, but I also got to participate on two panels!

Aside from my own narcissistic SQUEE-ing, what a great conference! Just, seriously, holy cow.

The sessions were all amazing. I heard giddy chatter all weekend about Hank Phillipi Ryan’s talks, John Cusick’s First Lines session, Lou Harry’s general hilarity, Roxane Gay’s general badassness, and so on.

The panels that I went to were fantastic. Sincerely, I don’t think it matters where you are in publishing, from total newb to published, there is something at MWW that will make you go, “Oh, shiz! I need to know that!”

The crop of agents were so top-notch. Sarah LaPolla, Brooks Sherman, Victoria Marini, John Cusick, and Amanda Luedeke were in the zooooooone, you guys.

The stories that were being pitched had to be so amazing. I felt like the agents were all having an Oprah moment. You get a request! You get a request! EVERYONE GETS A REQUEST!!!!!

I’ve been doing a lot of pimping for MWW since my own experience there last year, and I had been politely suggesting (Read: screaming, YOU MUST COME OMG) to anyone who would listen. I walked around all weekend thinking, “Oh, snap. I hope they all are loving this place as much as I do…”

Based on the amount of squealing, flailing, and jumping up and down I saw, I would say things went well.

I love the educational side of MWW. And it’s huge. Your brain is full after those three days, in the best way possible.

But my favorite part is watching people get requests…

I’m a total addict. I seriously get all the feelings watching people race out of their pitch sessions with a happy face.

I spent a lot of the trip hovering around the atrium doing pitch practice with people and I’ve decided it’s my most favorite thing to do. I loved hearing people talk about their stories (Holy balls, you guys are talented!) but even more, I love seeing that one of a kind expression that comes with getting a request and knowing that an agent liked it!

As far as I know, every single person I sat down with for pitch help walked away with at least one request.

And I swear I was squealing louder than they were when the requests came.

I have a lot of feels.

I could go on and on about the technical parts of MWW that are worth the cost of the trip. Because it totally is. But truly, the very best part of this conference is the people. The faculty is amazing. You are honestly never alone at MWW. Between the awesome staff, the hilarious interns, and the goers just ready to lend a hand to a new friend, there was never a moment when there wasn’t full support right beside you.

I am beside myself with glee that I was asked to participate this year, and pretty much ugly-crying tears of joy that I was able to help writers out in anyway.

Seriously. When people thanked me for my help, I cried. As one does.

Everyone I met was so beyond fantastic, and I hope you all keep in touch so I can squeal when all your good news starts coming in!

Here are some random favorite moments from MWW13:

1. MWW Jeopardy when an intern sustained a near-concussion during a particularly exciting round.

2. My panels with Kelsey Timmerman and Sarah. Apparently Sarah and I speak in unison now. I’m okay with this.

3. My own personal contributions of shenanigans and debauchery with John Cusick. (Who is now my people. Sorry John.)

4. The awards ceremony and the whispers of BAWDY winning entries. Crotchless panties!

5. Beer. Cheese. BEER CHEESE!!!!!!!!!

6. Jama Kehoe Bigger. That’s it. JAMA.

7. Vehicular spit-takes…

8. Watching an attendee walk away with so many requests she couldn’t speak. (This girl is going to be huge, kids.)

9. Accidental caramel and strawberry taco toppings. This seemed to hit a lot of people.

10. The hugs I got from EVERYONE.

And as a special bonus squeal, I have to share this video that was taken at a sports bar one night after the conference. There was a boxing machine that we all decided had to be used, and it was here we learned that Brooks Sherman is not a man to be underestimated…

The Boxer – Agents Edition

I hope everyone who made the trip to MWW had a great time, and I sincerely hope to see all of you next year for MWW14!!!!!!!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and MWW!!!!


  1. I saved up this summer to indulge my music side. Favorite band has new album…and I must have all. the. copies! And see the show. And get new merch.

    But I think, if I get a big enough tax return/full time job upon graduation/can afford it, I might make the short drive to Iowa City for this next year. It sounds like a great time and educational at the same time =). *you might’ve talked me into it just now*


  3. The most fun I’ve ever had at a conference. Seriously. And so much great information my brain is on overload. When I got home, I told the hubs and kids, it was like “summer camp for writers.”

  4. Tell Brooks my husband couldn’t have done that. It’ll make him feel better 🙂

  5. It was great to meet you! Finally, on the last day! I was already tired on the first day after having gone to RWA the week before—maybe not the best idea—but I’m so glad I went. I met some great people, and possibly a future critique partner or two. I feel like I’ve learned so much the past few years, I also want to help out newer writers, maybe with a workshop or something. I’m going to see if the other Chicago chapter who puts on Spring Fling (April 2014!) needs any workshop or panel help, maybe I can be like an intern or something 😀 I feel like I just landed in this biz recently and already people were asking me questions which feels so weird.

  6. This was a great conference, and it was so nice to meet you! 🙂

  7. I think what I loved most about this post is finding out how even more generous you are. You helped others pitch practice!?! I’m tearing up. I’m so glad you had such a great time. Now you have to meet me at RT or BEA!

  8. I’m so happy I went!! Thank you so much for all your MWW advertising/driving me around/helping with my pitch/everything!

  9. Brenda, she was AMAZING. So, so helpful. Endlessly positive. Perpetually encouraging. Plus, she made sure Morgan got there from the airport, which was the best thing ever to do, because Morgan, it transpires, is every bit as wonderful as you’d expect. In fact, that was a huge theme for me…meeting all these people I knew on the internet. Every. Single. One. was just as fabulous in person! (But yeah, I had a narrow escape from the strawberry taco topping.)

    Add Zombie Baby Doll to that list. Slanderous agents. Stories of speakers chasing people down in five inch heels. One particular person not only KNEW a wacko, obscure MG I love, but shared an “I know, RIGHT? What the hell?” moment with me about its existence.

    It was amazing. Thank you so much for being such a great advocate for MWW.

  10. Was GREAT to meet you at the conference, Summer! Looks like my story for the alumni magazine is going to be in the spring issue (to promote the 2014 MWW) but hope to see you there again next year!


  1. #mww13 | Adventures in Storyland - [...] the meantime, there have been many blog posts about the conference, some of which are linked in this sentence.…

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