I am a goal person. A list person. A write it on the list just so I can check it off person. It keeps me focused and motivated. Without them I ride high on ambition and bottom out on follow-through.
Since I last posted I’ve been busy writing children’s nonfiction. It has been so much fun! I really love the middle grade age group, and it is super handy to have a few kids in that range to give my manuscripts a test run.
My goal from last year was to write and submit, and it’s still the same. That doesn’t dishearten me in the least. The more I write, the better I get. I know it’s a process. In fact, I enjoy the process. I’m like a kid digging in the dirt just for the fun of it. In the end, if I end up with a few mud pies to my name, all the better.
On a whim, I signed up for the UVU Writer’s Academy that takes place throughout the month of October. As a part of the program, they have a short story contest that I’ve been having so much fun with. They give you a genre, a setting, and a random object to incorporate and limit you to 1,000 words. There are 4 rounds, with the final two being elimination rounds. You also only have a few days to write each piece!
When the scores were posted last week I was thrilled to see I’d tied for Second Place on the first round! Woohoo! This weekend I had a blast writing the second story. I don’t know if I’ll make it to the Finals, but I’m very grateful for this challenge. I’ve learned so much about storytelling and fiction these last two years, and I can see the progress in my writing. And that is the best prize of all!
Less than two years ago I stumbled onto a Midwest writing conference called SMIAH. I’ve talked about it before on here because it has a ton of fun writing contests. But back then I didn’t know anything about it. I was a writing professional, but a total newbie to writing novels. When I saw that one of my favorite authors, Traci Hunter Abramson, was the keynote, that was enough for me. I signed up last minute and bought a plane ticket to Kansas City.
It was my first real introduction to the fiction writing world. I’d never even heard of the big Storymakers writing conference in Utah, or that, along with Indie Author Hub, they sponsor this other, more intimate writing conference. At any rate, I went, not knowing a single person there. It turned out to be an exhilarating and life-changing experience for me. Not only did I meet authors of books I’d read, all the author instructors were eager to interact and teach me their craft.
Because of the small size of the conference, I got to have real conversations over lunch, in the hallway, and when we went out to dinner together. Everyone was interested in sharing their knowledge and helping me on my journey. For the first time I came away thinking that becoming an author might actually be possible. I felt accepted and connected. I’d found my people, and they’d left me bursting with motivation and inspiration for my writing.
This month I’d planned to attend the large Storymakers Conference in Provo. Of course I had to cancel my travel plans due to COVID-19, but instead of cancelling the conference, the incredibly dedicated volunteer staff switched gears to offer a virtual conference instead.
The benefit of this was that we didn’t have to choose a class to go to for each break-out session–we could go to all of them! That’s almost 100 amazing, mind-blowing writing classes! My husband is back to work, so it hasn’t been easy to devote the time to this, especially since my kiddos don’t finish online schooling until June 12th. I’ve also had to pause my own writing projects to take advantage of this training, but it’s been worth it. I’m about 85% through the presentations, and I’m chuck full of ideas to make my work better. In fact, if my head explodes, you’ll know why.