I’m a huge advocate of the writing conference as a crucial key to a writer’s development. For many years, I thought they were silly and over-priced. I figured I could learn anything I needed to know by reading books about the writing craft and business.
What I didn’t understand was the importance of connection. Writers tend to be solitary creatures. Their creativity happens when they’re alone. Often our friends and family members don’t understand the stress of having to kill off a character we love, or the trauma of maintaining our words per day quota, or the soul-destroying nature of the twelfth (or hundred and twelfth) rejection letter for a project we adore.
Other writers do.
When you sit in a room with other writers, hear their stories, and realize they have the same kind of feelings and experiences you do, you realize you aren’t the only one. You’re not weird! (Well, maybe you are, but it’s probably a good weird, and you realize there are a lot of weirder people and you thoroughly enjoy being in their weird company!). You feel like you belong. You listen, you learn, you laugh, and you long for it to last.
Next March I am going to a new conference for me: Creative Ink in Burnaby, BC. I see that some of my friends from other conferences (Surrey International, When Words Collide in Calgary, Word on the Lake in Salmon Arm) will be there. How great!
If you’re in BC and you’ve never been to a conference, this one is a good price ($80 for the weekend) and has some phenomenal people presenting and attending, so I already know it’s going to be great. Learn about the craft and business of the writing life. Share some weird. Enjoy some fun. Buy some books.
If you decide to go, tell them I sent you!
Creative Ink is at the Delta Marriott Burnaby, BC March 29-31, 2019.
quote- identity October 30, 2013
Tags: Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel, identity, poet, writer
In 2009, my novel Grace Awakening was finished, and I was staring stunned at the proof book, dumbstruck that I had actually done it. I had written 150,000 words over six months, and created a world that other people were reading and liking. I reflected this amazement to a friend who’d been reading my work since I was a kid, and he wrote, “You’re a writer. You’ve always been a writer.”
I stared at those words on the screen for the longest time, trying to absorb them:
I am a writer.
Not a wanna-be writer. Not a hopeful writer. Not a someday writer. I am a writer, and I have *always* been a writer.
It probably took me 3 years to fully accept that identity. To embrace who I am. When my friends started introducing me, not as a teacher, but as a “Shawn, the published author,” it was very profound. It still gives me goosebumps
Then I started paying attention to the comments on my blog posts, and realised that I am also a poet.
I am a poet.
I was a little quicker to accept that idea, since it is so closely related to being a writer. I have this image of poets as slightly crazy people, who live in weird houses, dress in crazy outfits, and have a lot of cats. Well, two out of four is enough to face the truth.
I have embraced my creative self, and it is getting weirder and weirder. The other day I seriously considered buying a wooden caravan style RV (I’ll try to take a photo of this beauty). My husband would freak out at the very idea. There probably isn’t enough room for my shoes, but I looked at that caravan, and was ready to hit the road. To become the wandering Bohemian I’ve beaten down my whole life.
Who I am is not new. My friend was right, I’ve always been a writer. I’ve been chattering away telling stories since I could talk. I shared stories I wrote in grade 3 show and tell. I won my first poetry prize in grade 4. I’ve always been who I am.
Now that I’m not just accepting it, but I’m embracing it, I feel alive. I feel like I am fulfilling my destiny. I feel RIGHT in my world, because I am able to be who I am supposed to be. I write. I can not do things because I need to write. People come to my blog, and tell me how my words make them feel, or think, or… My words are who I am.
Who are you?