This past weekend I attended the annual conference put on by the American Night Writers Association. It was my fifth year and I finally fulfilled my goal of having a published book of my own to sell in the bookstore. I may have only sold one copy, but it’s a start! One of the presenters I listened to, Leslie Householder, the author of The Jackrabbit Factor (which I’m about to read), spoke of how one reader purchased the book after she was interviewed on television. But that one reader contacted her and shared how it had blessed her life immensely. You never know. Even if the book is for yourself alone, why not write your story? Why not pen your poems?
The atmosphere at the conference is one of grand inspiration with writers at all levels and stages and of all genres coming together to learn with and from each other. It’s one of the most positive places. At my first conference I realized I would learn more here than ever in my creative writing courses in college. There were terms I didn’t recognize and I knew nothing about marketing or publishing. I’m still sparkling emerald green in those areas I’ll say.
There’s nothing like having some time away from routine to reflect on things and even plan a reset. As I was unexpectedly able to spend some time in Michigan on a lake the week before last, I thought about all the unexpected things that had come recently. I spent a precious few minutes writing down some thoughts on recent weeks and thinking how my life had changed. Then and in the days that have followed, I’ve thought about pain. What a master teacher it can be. We wish for things to be good. We wish for things to be easy. But we often wish to be what we are not, without any trouble, without any work, without any pain. While I don’t ask for or enjoy pain, I wouldn’t take away any I’ve experienced. It can humble and strengthen and fill you with empathy. I’m amazed by people I know who have gone through some challenges I can’t imagine, and come out from them better and stronger than before.
When we make mistakes and struggle in the writing world, as every writer does, that’s not a bad thing. If we wish each other the best in life, that’s not solely all good things. That includes pain because it will lead to growth like nothing else can. And who wants to remain stagnant anyway? Take it from Andy Grammar here.