Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Learning as an author

No matter where you are as an author--beginner, novice or published pro--there's always something we can learn. That's why we have writer's conferences. They aren't just for the beginner to learn all they can. We can all benefit by humbling ourselves and realizing we don't know all there is to know about being an author.

I was reminded of that this past Saturday at the LDStorymaker's conference. And I learned a ton, not just about the business of writing but also about my own writing and myself. :) Along with a couple of entertaining panels I also sat in on two classes. One was taught by Heather Moore of Precision Editing (also HB Moore, published author). Heather walked us through her process as an author, really invaluable stuff, and also gave us some insight on the status of publishing in today's economic market. One thing she mentioned that really stuck out to me was how shy and introverted she is (and I can totally relate lol) and how as an author she has had to step out of her comfort zone to promote her writing. This has been my biggest stumbling block. I hate talking about myself. Though I find no shame in being an author it's difficult to speak up and tell people what I do.

I mean, come on--I'm the same person who forgot my own name when introduced to a member of our stake presidency! Ok, I was 18 at the time but generally 18 yr olds know their own name! I still have those moments where somebody says something to me and my brain goes blank for a split second. Because of this throughout my life I've come across as aloof or uninterested or just a plain snob and it's still a fight for me to open my mouth. I don't think I said more than 10 words at the conference Saturday. I spoke to 3 people. 3. Sure I was soaking it all in but at the same time I need to project a little too.

The other class I sat in on was taught by Tristi Pinkston. Aside from being a generally adorable person Tristi is also talented and funny. She's very personable. And she has a blog on blogspot too. :) Tristi talked about fitting your writing into your life--how to justify it and lessen the guilt but still make your family a priority. Somehow it's harder to write when you're a mom. We have guilt for taking a little time to ourselves. Imagine the time it takes to write a novel, or two or three or more. The guilt can really pile up.

I love the things Tristi said. She made a lot of sense. For some of us writing is more than a hobby. It's more than something we can do one time or twice; take it or leave it. For some of us writing is a calling. It's something we have to do. I can no more stop writing than stop breathing--I've said that before. I tried. I put my pen down and my files of writing away more than once. But I kept being prompted to pick it up again. It's not going to wait until all my kids are in college or out of the house. There are things that have to be said now; things I have to get out of me or I will lose them.

I'm attending several writer's conferences this year. And I plan to learn and grow at each one. No matter how far we get we're always needing a push in the write direction.

So get out there, get learning and get writing!

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