Friday, 29 June 2007

Finding My Niche

It seems to me I've spent most of my life not quite fitting in. Part of that is my shyness which I have spent a lifetime trying to overcome. Part of it is feeling different. Not many people talk about the voices in their head or spend their days playing make believe in their minds. But in March I had an incredible experience. I attended the LDStorymakers conference.

I became aware of this conference several years ago, but the timing and the money never worked out for me to travel to Utah from Canada. One year I really wanted to go, but had become lazy with my writing. I told myself I would go the next time, if I could earn it. During that year I wrote my first novel. I persuaded a sister-in-law, who is also a writer, to come with me and we made the trip. I even entered the first chapters contest, hoping to get some valuable feedback on the work I had done.

Because I don't like crowds or strangers, I felt fairly nervous at the whole prospect. What I found when we first arrived was a feeling I had never felt before. Yes, these people were strangers, but we seemed to have a common bond. Here was a place where the written word was honored and revered. Here was a place where dropping everything to write down that perfect line is expected and encouraged. Here is a place where you say, "I am a writer," and you are respected for it. I finally found where I belonged. I am already planning to go to Utah again next year and get to know people a little better. And if I can find a place just once in a while where I truly feel at home, I'll be there.


Tristi Pinkston said...

Yes, come back to Utah!! We loved having you!

Julie Wright said...

I'm with Tristi! Utah rocks! come on home! And how cool, you finished your first novel! Congratulations.

ali said...

Stephanie, was THIS your first year? I went this year for the first time. I didn't feel quite as great as you ... thought the conference was good, but my shyness overwhelmed my happiness to be there and I didn't go back the second day. I had lots of 'good' reasons why I didn't go, but probably, as with most things, if I'd wanted it badly enough I might have figured out how to go.

Did you get the feedback on your book you were looking for?

Next time, let's meet!

Stephanie said...

I don't think I would have gone this year if my SIL wasn't "holding my hand". But I do understand the stress of those situations. I woke up saturday morning with a migraine, but managed to get it under control by late morning. I decided I had driven too far and paid too much money to miss any of the conference. I am planning on meeting you at next year's conference, and I'm going to hold you to it, both days :)

As far as the feedback, I won second place in the romance division of the first chapters contest. That was an enormous shock. Julie Bellon gave me some great feedback as well.

Annette Lyon said...

I'm so glad the conference was good for you! I too am a painfully shy person, and writing conferences are one big way I've been able to pry my shell open. Can't wait to see you next year!

Stephanie said...

I think by then, all the people I've met through Authors incognito and the rest of the lds writers who blog and comment on blogs faithfully, will feel like old friends and the conference will be fun just to meet them all face to face.

Marsha Ward said...

Stephanie, I just discovered your blog. I, too, went to LDStorymakers' conference for the first time last March. I look forward to seeing you next year.

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