I participated in a writing forum sponsored by our local Barnes and Noble bookstore and I’m glad I went. The forum featured six local authors who write in a variety of platforms. The authors were friendly and outgoing and interacted with me and other audience members before and after the question and answer sessions.
I have never attended a writing conference and while I’m a Facebook group member of the Snake River Writers, I haven’t put myself out there in public as a writer. It was a bit intimidating! The panelist asked if I was a writer and I kept saying, I want to be. During the session one of the panelists said we should stop saying I want to be a writer or I hope to be a writer. If you’re writing, you are a writer. I liked that and it made me stop and think about being confident in my work.
People who know me are probably questioning my statement about not putting myself out in public as a writer. I worked for 12 years as a newspaper reporter and wrote for the majority of each work day. In the book writing/publishing world, newspaper writing does not count. I don’t know why nor do I think if very fair, but that’s how it is. When asked to list published works, newspaper will specifically be banned.
The whole Writers on Writing experience was energizing and encouraging. It was nice to meet old friends and make new ones. Some of the experiences I had in writing Silent Thunder were echoed by others and some indicated I was on the right track. One of the most remarkable experiences I’ve had was the “communication” with my characters. I could be in my thought box (the shower), eating lunch, or driving down the road and my imagination would start spinning the next scene in the book. I could hear the characters talking to each other as if a movie was playing in my head right up until I wrote the last word. Since then it’s been silence. At the writing forum, the authors said they had similar experiences and said if the characters are silent it’s a sign your book is done. I’m so thankful I’m not the only one “hearing” voices!
One of the helpful hints was to join a writing group, like the Snake River Writers, and attend conferences. The networking is, in part, to find beta readers, mentors and critique buddies. I know our writing group has group writing sessions, but they also discuss a variety of writing and publishing issues and current events. I was proud that two of our members were on the panel are local authors! Wendy Swore and Shauna Holyoak have both written young adult fiction aimed at the middle-school age reader.
Shauna wrote Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers published by Disney Hyperion and Wendy wrote Monsters Like Me published by Shadow Mountain Publishing. It was so fun meeting them in person after following them on the group posts. I hope you get an opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone and find a new experience out there.
Enjoy the read, TC Robinson