The LDStorymakers Writing Conference was AMAZING! One of the best I've been to yet, which is saying a lot, since this is my favorite conference to attend and I've had a lot of awesome things happen there. Before I was published I placed in their first chapter contest four times in three years, the last year winning me the grand prize. It's a happy place for me, full of wonderful friends who have taught me how to write and I admire the heck out of. These are the people who taught me how to write and made me the writer I like to hope I am. It is always a joy to see them, but this year was different, in that I got to join them. Since the conference, I have become an official member of the LDStorymaker guild, but while there, I got to teach a class on How to Become an Idea Factory, and be a leader for an awesome table at Boot Camp. It's an intense, day long experience of reading each member of a small group's first fifteen pages and giving feedback on what works and what doesn't. It's where I learned the most when I was attending before I was published, and I still learned this year, even being the leader. There was not a single person at my table whose book I wouldn't have read. They were all absolutely fantastic and I would not be surprised if every one of them is published someday.
While at the conference we had a little party for the sister group to LDStorymakers, called Authors Incognito. We had a TON of people there--more than I've ever seen at a mix and mingle before. One of my friends had told me to bring a nerf gun because we were going to get one of the guys all at once. Well, it turned out he couldn't come to the conference and I was the only one who brought a gun, so I had a blast for the next two hours shooting my friends in the backside. It was the most fun I've had in years!
I am always sad to leave the conference. I said to somebody, I wished we could all just move in together. They feel like family and I miss them when it's over, but thus is life. We must go on.
On another front, I'm writing again, working on that grand prize winning chapter, and turning it into something more. I'm not sure where it's going yet, but I'm having a ball getting there. About a week ago, Tristi Pinkston had a twelve hour sprint writing thingamajig. She timed us for like fifty minutes, then we got a ten minute break to get up and stretch, before we were on to the next fifty minutes. It was amazing. I wrote a grand total of 10,424 words that day. More than I've written in ages. It was total free writing, what my friends call "pantsing" it, (because you're writing by the seat of your pants), but I found it to be a very successful method for me and could hardly wait to do it again, so I took matters into my own hands and created a place for writers to go and do sprint writing any time they want. It's called Sprint Writers Central. We have a moderator in place, most of the time, but there is a timer on the site, so even if it's three o'clock in the morning and a couple of people want to sprint, they can use the timer and go it alone.
One of my favorite aspects of Sprint Writers Central is what I call The Chatterbox. It's a chat box that has multiple purposes. One, to just visit with other writers. So many of us feel alone in this writing world and it's nice to connect and know that we aren't all by our lonesome. The other, and primary purpose, is while doing these sprint runs, if anyone has a question, be it about character names, or needing an alternate word for something, or a list of swear words (yes, these have all come across The Chatterbox), we can ask one another for help. It makes it a brainstorming tool for writers as well as a way to connect. It makes me feel like I'm in a cabin surrounded by writers such as myself and we're all pounding away at our own works, when somebody shouts out a question. I love it. Running this site, with the help of Miss Tristi Pinkston and a few others, has made me happier than I've been in I don't know how long, and believe me, I was in serious need of a dose of happiness. It feels awesome.
So, if you don't have a critique group, or don't want a critique group, but want the benefit of having other writers to write (or edit) with, come check out Sprint Writers Central and join us in the fun! You won't regret it. That I can promise.
Quote of the Day: "The most important thing for a Christian writer to do, in my opinion, is to keep the Lord their primary focus. Pray about your writing. Pray with an attitude of absolute surrender . . . no strings attached. Hard as it is, I still try not to focus on the publishing. The goal of life is to complete the work God gave me to do, whatever that may be, and of pleasing Him. We cannot know until it happens if we will ever see our books in print, just as we cannot know anything about our futures. Life isn’t about being published. It’s about obeying Jesus Christ."