Thirteen Things I’m Grateful for as a Writer

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On the occasion of my thirteenth blog post, it is time for a list. The following thirteen things are dear to me as a writer. If you took any one away, who knows where I’d be?

 

  1. Computers/word processors. It’s a simple thing, but being able to move chunks of writing around on a manuscript is priceless. If I had to type on a typewriter, I’d probably still write, but I do love computers.

 

  1. Eyes that work. This might sound trite, but I mean it. I know sight-impaired people who do write, but I’m soooo grateful for my eyesight.

 

  1. A day job that pays the bills and still allows for writing time. I’ve been lucky.

 

  1. Parents and relatives who brought so many books into my life from pretty much day one. Special shout out to my Aunt Glenna, wherever she may be, who gave me a Dr. Seuss book for Christmas and my birthday for years. Also to Dan, who gave me my first Vonnegut book.

 

  1. Teachers and others who taught me. Not just about writing but about life and what it means to be a good human being. Some taught by example and others by patient instruction. Thank you for not giving up on me.

 

  1. My early friends. The ones who wanted me to tell them stories and were my first audience. Thank you for laughing, getting scared, and asking for more.

 

  1. Writer friends at all levels. I learn from and commiserate with you all. Only other writers truly get it.

 

  1. Non-writer friends who encourage me and keep asking me how the writing is going. Even when I seem bored talking about it, I do appreciate your asking.

 

  1. A life partner who cooks and does chores while I’m writing, who reminds me to eat and doesn’t grumble (much) when I jaunt off to retreats and conferences…constantly. Thanks, B.

 

  1. Critique partners who genuinely want me to succeed. I love you guys. A lot.

 

  1. Retreat friends. Ahhhh. The retreats. Possibly my favorite part of being a writer—writing from shortly after dawn until long after dark, eating and talking with other writers, total immersion. A big thank you to the retreat friends who took me in and the B&B folk who make it possible.

 

  1. Cats who know the #1 writer’s cat rule: No feets on keyboard. Good kitties.

 

  1. Writers organizations. Groups like Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Pikes Peak Writers, and Northern Colorado Writers have played the largest part in my becoming a writer, finding writing friends and critique partners, learning about the craft and the business of writing, introducing me to agents and editors, and boosting my confidence and motivation. Everyone involved in these groups rocks.

 

2014 was a wonderful writing year. Thank you to everyone who was a part of mine. Love and hugs!

Happy Thirtieth, Colorado Gold!

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My favorite conference turned thirty this month, the Colorado Gold, hosted by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in Denver. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve attended. But I think my first was in 2002. I remember being a little lost. I envied the people who knew everyone and wished I lived closer to Denver so I could be more involved. (I was over an hour away!) But I met my goals that year: to get a “send-it” from an agent and find a critique group.

Each year I attended, I felt a little more at home, less nervous, less isolated, making an effort to find other writers I could connect with. I learned to smile at EVERYONE. I kept getting send-its but no agent. I could write well and pitch well, but my story had holes. I had put in my 10,000 hours as a writer, but I needed 10,000 more hours as a storyteller. I’m still clocking those hours.

A couple of years ago, I decided these conferences were too expensive to simply get one send-it from an agent and/or editor who might not fall in love with my story. If I was going to keep attending, I needed to get more out of these conferences. I began to focus more on the other writers I met, on getting to know them and their work, reading their books and reviewing them, learning from everything they said and everything I read. So many dynamic, wonderful people attend Colorado Gold, writers who write a lot and still have time and energy to help a comrade with craft, give business advice, share a story and a laugh. I liked those people. I wanted to be one of them.

This is not a success story. Yet. I still don’t have an agent, but I haven’t given up, weary as I sometimes get. When lassitude sets in, I turn to my writer friends. Most of them have suffered from inertia at one time or another. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

This year, I was able to attend four writers conferences, all in my home state of Colorado. Colorado Gold is my favorite and has been for years. Most of my writer friends are there, and I encourage writer friends who aren’t regulars to attend.

If you’re a writer who’s never attended, consider this your personal invitation. And feel free to contact me with questions.

Next year, I might have to chop one conference from the itinerary. It pains me, but I think I need an actual vacation next year. You know when it’s time, and it is time. But if I have to miss one conference in 2015, the Colorado Gold will not be that one.

If you will be there next September, find me and say hello.