Growth Through Stretching

For the past two years, I’ve been the secretary for Women Writing the West (WWW). This was no stretch after years of various PTO (Parent Teacher and Other), 4-H Leader, and School Board Member positions and offices. Skills and confidence for this nationally recognized organization slid right into place.

Then, I was asked to come on board and chair the agent/editor committee for our annual conference, this year in Redmond, OR. I was happy to accept. At first the challenge was slight. I looked up literary agents and editors in our Oregon, Washington and California that would fit the needs of our members who write fiction and non-fiction with strong female characters placed west of the Mississippi. I scanned last years conference program and picked agents and editors that were closer to our area.

It was finally time to write the official Women Writing the West Letter to send to the agents and editors on my slowly growing list. The Conference committee was a huge help in making sure the letter had all the correct information and professionally represented WWW. Revving up my letter writing skills was a stretch that made my muscles tingle. It felt good as I hadn’t written this type letter in years.

I sent out the official WWW invitation with a wide smile. And waited.

Finding editors was a snap. Most agreed right away. Agents on the other hand was a slow going process and many were already booked by the time my letter found a spot in their email inbox. My muscles ached. Fortunately another committee member reached out with aid and one agent even contacted one of our c0-conference VP chairs. What a relief. My muscles relaxed.

When a few months had passed, it was time to contact members and schedule agent and editor pitch appointments. This is what I am currently working on.

What I have learned on this muscle stretching journey:

1. Patience is a must.

2. It is okay to begin the search early and get right on to agent and editor invitations.

3. Making mistakes is human. We all do it. People forgive.

4. Asking for help is a must.

5. Stretching muscles gains confidence and courage.

6. Taking the time to committee to muscle stretching deepens existing friendships and creates new one.

7. It is okay if an agent or editor has to cancel. Go back to the list.


I look forward to the 2015 WWW Conference in Redmond, OR this October. I wish every member and non-member great success with their pitch appointments and travel mercies for all.

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  1. Jean Sutton says:

    Good thing you had to stretch a little. We all have to at some time and I am thankful for all the stretching in my life and yours.

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Yes, growing pains can hurt, but we become better people because of them.

  2. I suspect there are additional blog posts here embellishing each of the ways that “stretch” turns into “growth.” Thanks for the insights.

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Yes, Judith. That topic can hit me at times. I do have growth spurts and love to share! So glad you stopped by. Thank you!

  3. Carmen, Warmest thanks for your service for WWW. I am sorry indeed that I cannot attend this year’s conference. Last year’s, in Golden Colorado, was spectacular and I have no doubt that this year’s will be also. Here’s hoping our paths can cross at the WWW in 2016! And good wishes for the conference in 2015!

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Thank you, C.M. I’m sorry you can’t go. I enjoyed visiting with you in Golden. We will have to catch up in Santa Fe next year.

  4. This is a HUGE job, Carmen. WWW couldn’t have found a better person to fill it! I can’t wait for the conference!

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Thank you, Mary. I appreciate that. It’s been so good working with you the last couple years too. You’ve done a wonderful job with the catalog.