Happy New Year to my reading community. My journey through this past year has been one of hard work, and when daunting, you lifted me up with your encouragement. Reading my newsletters, sharing in my journey through commenting on blog posts, and meeting up with me in person has been invaluable. At the end of this post, you’ll find a video highlighting this past year with you. And, please know that while I keep you in the know of new blog posts during 2019, my monthly newsletters are so-last-year.
The last month of 2018 was engaging. I attended
a vigil in honor of National Homeless
Persons Memorial Day. Drawn from personal experience, the homelessness plight
is one I care passionately about and share about through my creative writing. On
the weekend before Christmas, I participated in an author event. On Christmas
Day, I shared my time with women at a shelter.
A Holiday Soiree took place at The Westin, Cincinnati on Saturday, December 22. It was a meet and greet event with local authors sharing their books. At any time, you can see where I will be next by visiting my Author Appearances and Events Page, found under the tab, Media and Contact.
Christmas in the Community Like me, many women at [The Esther Marie Hatton Center and Shelterhouse for Women] are also without the traditional family holiday gathering. This shelter is their refuge. It is a place with resources to regain strength, purpose, empowerment, and stability. Christmas has passed but the needs of these women and others remain.
Homeless People are Dying Every Day: A Candlelight Vigil and an Excerpt from my Memoir. Cities across America observe the annual National Homeless Persons Memorial Day on the day which has the shortest daylight hours. This year it was Friday, December 22. It is in memory of those who have died as a consequence of homelessness.
Many people in our communities are in need, whether struggling through homelessness or another difficulty. I hope you find my ideas and resources helpful as I blog about my journey to make our communities safe and inviting for everyone. Each of us may be limited in what we can do, but coming together in these opportunities, we, as a community make a difference.
From 2018 into 2019
As Year 2019
approaches, I looked back in our sharing through this blog. In January 2018, I
was working diligently with my publishing house and shared with you my work-in-progress.
Revisions on my end and editing on their end where taking off.
My publisher brought forth a few questions, “Why?” or “Didn’t this happen because of this?” There, I need to clue the reader in. This can be challenging. As a true story, the “whys and “why nots” can seem illogical. My homework is to show how chaos evolved into a new way of thinking or a new set of actions.
end of excerpt
I persisted to get my memoir ready for your hands. Out of Chaos: A Memoir published in August 2018. This milestone has been momentous for me and I hope a life changer for others, too. Life is good today. Thank you for 2018. Together, we can make 2019 momentous and good.
When a child, I marveled at the lights and ornaments on the grand Christmas tree in the family living room. Fresh pine needles emitted sweetness; wrapped gifts overflowed from under its lower branches. What more could Santa bring? All that remain from my childhood are memories. For those who have read or are reading my memoir, “Out of Chaos,” you might remember that I have no childhood pictures.
This season, on Christmas morning, as friends gathered with their families, I stayed home; just me and my pet birds.
Christmas afternoon then dawned as I stepped outside onto my house’s front porch. Morning frost had since melted, but a chill remained. I pulled my hat over my ears and made my way to my garage. Then I drove to the The Esther Marie Hatton Center and Shelterhouse for Women, where I met up with friends in the shelter’s kitchen.
Their dinner hour is shared with community members who prepare and serve a warm meal for them, cafeteria style in a large dining room. Christmas dinner was no exception. And I’m happy my friends and I could be with them this Christmas.
Like me, many women at this shelter are also without the traditional family holiday gathering. This shelter is their refuge. It is a place with resources to regain strength, purpose, empowerment, and stability.
They lined up at our kitchen counter, accepting a full dinner plate from us. Their faces and kind remarks showed me their gratitude and their hope for better times in the new year. A tall Christmas tree stood at the far end of the room, decorated and lit. Rather than gifts hugging the tree’s lower branches, it was women hugging each other, in friendship and merriment. Although life is tough for these women, the exchange of a caring spirit brightens the season.
Christmas has passed but the needs of these women and others remain.
I hope you will consider sharing your hope and strength with others whenever and wherever you can. Aside from the below mentioned resources, consider calling the shelters in your area to ask how best to be of service. Nationwide, there are no less than 5000 shelters. We have a lot of homeless people in America. Too many!
A great resource for discovering where in your community could use a helping hand is the website for Homeless Shelter Directory. From its front page, click on the map, picking out your state. From there, it links to a page which lists not only places in need, but also the contact details.
Cities across America observe the annual National Homeless Persons Memorial Day on the day which has the shortest daylight hours. This year it was Friday, December 22. It is in memory of those who have died as a consequence of homelessness.
Led by The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, we met at Washington Park in Cincinnati on this evening for a candlelight vigil and remembrance, naming each person lost. No less than 109 Cincinnatians experiencing homelessness died during 2018.
Over 3 million people are without shelter each night, here in America. These statistics –numbers behind real people— are alarming. It is also unnecessary. For comparison sake, that is a close approximation to how many people live in Los Angeles. Picture that many people homeless!
Lack of affordable housing is one obstacle which pushes people to live on the streets. In Cincinnati, nearly 10,000 people lack a stable, permanent residence. These are individuals and families with children. These are hard-working adults who either go to work each day, yet don’t earn more than minimum wage, keeping them from affording housing. These are also hard-working adults who can work yet are currently unemployed; without money to afford housing.
Here in Cincinnati, advocates are joining
forces through grassroots efforts, lobbying, and educating the public, all with
the ultimate goal to eradicate homelessness. Housing should be available and
affordable to everyone.
Cincinnati is not alone in these problems and efforts to make a viable change. A YouTube channel, Invisible People, has an ongoing vlog which shows the personal stories of people all across America; people who either go to work or who are looking for work and who do not have a place to call home. They are living out of their cars, in tents on the streets, or in shelters one night at a time when available.
In my job at the public library in downtown Cincinnati, it seems at times that we are overrun with homeless persons who hang out in our lobbies. Often, I catch myself wondering why they don’t use our library’s resources to pull themselves up. Then, I stop myself from judging. Some are not only homeless but also mentally ill or suffering from substance abuse and addiction.
Residential treatment centers for those caught up in the unending cycle of homelessness and substance abuse are limited in their availability. And many treatment places are a for-profit business, with an expense which can bar people from seeking help. Those who are both homeless and mentally ill can easily be unaware of their risks on the streets. They too could be helped; even if moved into an assisted care home facility.
And I see that a few people do use our library computers and help from the tech center. Librarians make themselves available to help people learn how to use email, how to write a resume, how to complete an online job application, and so much more. With the influx of people experiencing homelessness who turn to our library for shelter during the daytime, it is my daily reminder of why I am grateful today and that it is up to me to build upon my life.
An excerpt from Chapter 22 of my memoir, “Out of Chaos”….
I moved into a boarding house in downtown [Klamath Falls] at a flat rate of $350 a month, with no move-in deposits and that month prorated. For a little more than one hundred dollars, I was in my seven-by-ten room to figure out my next move. It came furnished with a twin bed, the headboard at one wall and the foot of the bed butted up to my jimmy-rigged pantry shelf. The shared bathroom was right next door to me, so the toilet wasn’t far, but the shower-head sucked so I bathed in another floor’s bathroom.
The location was perfect. I
could walk to the State Career Center or the public library in under ten
minutes. A laundromat and my morning AA meeting were a little farther away, but
doable. Fred Meyer’s was the nearest grocery store, which wasn’t so close. I
became a regular at the library where I checked out DVDs [for my seven-inch
portable DVD player] so I could take a break from my Lost reruns.
employment services] finally called me one afternoon at 2:00. “Can you be on assignment
It was for two nights,
dinner shifts, washing dishes at the hospital.
Mid-shift on the second
night, the kitchen supervisor asked me to join him in his office. Even his
office seemed bigger than my apartment. He grabbed a dish towel and wiped away
a bead of sweat from his forehead where dreadlocks fell forward. His dark brown
eyes captured my attention. He said, “Thank you for coming in on such short
notice. Our regular guy is out sick, and we can’t go without a dishwasher.”
I said, “You’re welcome. I’m
glad Express called me to help you.”
He tossed the dish cloth in
a dirty rags bin. “Most people could care less about washing dishes.”
“It feels good to work,” I
“I see that,” he said as he
sat down on his desk. “You’re handling those pots and pans without any
“I’ve been looking
everywhere for work. I’ve got a college degree, but I can’t even get a fast
food place to hire me,” I said.
“Yeah, in this town,
sometimes it’s a matter of knowing the right person. If you didn’t go to school
here or aren’t in someone’s hood, then people don’t know you,” he said.
“Working tonight is a nice
change from looking for work,” I said.
“Check in at our personnel
office. I haven’t heard of any openings at all, but if there is something,
they’ve got my word that you’re a good worker.”
“Thank you. I was in here
last week, and a month ago. You all have a hiring freeze.”
He grabbed a binder and a pen and got up off his desk. As he walked me out of his office, he added, “Yeah, that’s the recession for you. Keep up the good work. I’ve got a meeting to catch.”
–end of excerpt–
Although it felt good to work those two nights, I still didn’t have a real job and no earthly idea how I was to come up with $350 for the following month’s rent. I was at risk for becoming homeless again.
For us as a community to connect with people who are at risk for, or are experiencing homelessness, our awareness of this issue and our preventive action will help in the fight to eradicate homelessness.
A few ways to make a difference:
*Contact nonprofit organizations in the community which raise awareness of homelessness. Many have events and fundraisers.
*Volunteer where you can, from soup kitchens to shelters.
*Donate. Community organizations which help the homeless most often accept monetary gifts, food, clothing, and hygiene items.
Being homeless is not only an uncomfortable situation, it is also risky. Many people die from lack of shelter. Here is a video recap of the candlelight vigil in observance of National Homeless Persons Memorial Day, 2018.
Link here for my blog post, Homeless People are Dying Every Day — Remembering Them and Advocating for Change. (December 27, 2017).
Amid the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping specials on our minds, the Thanksgiving holiday is also a time to stop, pause, and sit down to more-than-we-can-eat with family and friends.
It is a time to reconnect with our loved ones, to recognize all the good in our lives, to cherish memories at hand, and well, to feel gratitude.
More so, we can show our thankfulness through our generosity and giving heart.
Here in America, income and the standard of living for most Americans is relatively high when compared to other industrialized nations.
Hence, we can revel in the commercialization by buying that thousand-dollar TV for only a few hundred dollars when on sale the day after Thanksgiving. Yet, having money to spend freely is a blanketed statement. It overlooks countless people in our American communities.
Many people barely scratch the surface to afford the traditional family gathering with turkey and trimmings. Some don’t even have family.
This stark realization is our call to action to make our community a better place for everyone. While we can’t buy TVs for everyone, we can do what matters most. We can share our giving spirit with others.
In the downtown area of the big city I live close to, we have a hot spot of homeless shelters, transitional housing places, and homeless encampments. Tender Mercies is one such place.
What is Tender Mercies:
Tender Mercies is a supportive and transitional housing environment, located in Over-the-Rhine on West 12th Street (Cincinnati).
Their stated mission is: ”Tender Mercies transforms the lives of homeless adults with mental illness by providing security, dignity, and community in a place they call home.”
This season, on Thanksgiving Day, several friends and I visited Tender Mercies and served a homemade dinner to these folks. Residents of Tender Mercies gave me a heart-felt connection and while they thanked us for their dinner,
I thank them for inviting us into their home,
I thank them for letting me meet them and
to get to know them a little better (some I’ve seen in passing when on my job at the public library),
I thank them for letting me give back to my community.
Making a Difference in our Communities helps others:
As you ponder what difference you can make in your community, consider volunteering at a feeding program, soup kitchen, or the like.
Explore where there is a need in your neighborhood or a city near you.
Start one with a group of friends or a group or organization that you are a member in.
In a nation as rich and plentiful as ours, no individual or family should go hungry or be malnourished. And no one should go without the human connection of kindheartedness. Feed the hungry and feed your soul.
Making a Difference in our Communities enriches our own lives:
An act of unconditional love lifts the spirit, giving a boost to overall health and well-being. In turn, happier, healthier people become better members of society creating a win-win for all.
Volunteer work is a wonderful vehicle by which members of a community can lend a helping hand to individuals in need. It provides vital services that local city and governmental agencies cannot always render to the number of people in need.
Humanitarian efforts to help others, and increasing our awareness are our calls to action today— and going forward.
”Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie, author.
Homeless Shelter Directory of Helping the Needy:
If you are in other parts of America and need a resource to point you where help is needed, this website is user friendly. It opens with a map of the United States—click on your state and from there, find out where to go and who to contact.
Yesterday, local authors and readers got together to put on a book fair. It was the Local Authors Day Event in Northern Kentucky, held at the main branch of the Boone County Public Library in Burlington, Kentucky.
Big thanks goes out to Kelsey Shackelford, Community Events Liaison with this library, for her dedication and commitment.
It was not my first year to show up, yet my first year to come with a published book. Like before, this was an awesome time to connect with readers and writers, alike. Yes, I sold a few books. More-so, it was an opportunity for me to share my journey with others and to hear what they are reading or writing.
While I have given a few author presentations before, this was my first time at an actual book fair with my book. It was so meaningful to have my good friend, Lorene sit beside me.
For those who have read my book, this is the same Lorene from Chapters 24 and 25 in Out of Chaos.: A Memoir.
If you are a writer and wondering what are the “perks” to have a table at a book fair, here are but a few:
To connect with others who also practice the writing craft
To better understand the writing industry
To listen; really listen to book buyers and readers
If you are a reader and wondering “why go to a book fair” here are but a few reasons:
To support those who are sharing their written works
To get a first-hand knowledge of books that otherwise could go unnoticed
To grab a good read, perhaps at a reduced price from the retail cost
To pick up gifts for birthdays and holidays
To get to know the author behind a book you plan to read
To get your book autographed (how can you do that at Walmart?)
I hope to see you at the next book fair in my greater community.
Until then, please share your experience in either shopping for books at such events, or as a writer sharing your book with others.
Examining our past and learning from it means seeing not only our achievements, but our failings. Observing our country’s current issues demands action from each of us, as we come together to make our society a better place for us and for future generations. Accountability to our communities involves not only creating a society which makes us proud, but also recognizing and then changing dark impulses which have marred or are currently marring our country.
The dedication that you—our men and women fighting for our country—is indelible. Your fight on the front-lines and commitment to public service enables us to learn compassion and grow intellectually. Freedom isn’t free. Those who are willing to pay the price, the time away from their families, and the endless dangers of the battleground are our true heroes. Our hearts and minds are changed forever, and we are grateful for your service of yesterday and today and going forward.
Dear Friends, here are some ways to remember our Veterans:
Read something a Veteran wrote about their experience.
Write in your journal how thankful you are for the service of Veterans.
Take a private moment to be proud of your country.
Observe a moment of silence with family and friends.
Take a moment to reflect on what it means to live in America.
Hang an American flag in your yard or at your apartment entryway. SAY THANKS
Write and send a letter to someone who’s currently serving in the military.
Thank a Veteran co-worker for their service.
Video chat with a Veteran who is servicing oversees.
Use Social Media to #THANKAVET! GIVE THANKS
Donate time or money or supplies to local Veterans Day drives.
Volunteer to help a Veteran’s service organization. ACTION
Shake a Veteran’s hand.
Teach a child what it means to be a Veteran.
Send an email to the people on your contact list that tells a Veteran’s story.
Attend a Veterans’ Day event.
Go to a Veterans’ Day parade.
HONOR A VETERAN
Add their photo and your personal thank you to the DAV Thank A Vet Mosaic.
Make and share an interview video through the StoryCorps app.
BE IN THE MOMENT WITH A VETERAN
Ask a Veteran about their time in the military, and really listen to the answer.
Visit a home-bound Veteran in their home.
Visit a homeless Veteran under a bridge.
Take a Veteran out to dinner.
Take dinner in to a Veteran.
Buy a homeless Veteran a cup of coffee.
Mark on your calendar a day each month to do one of the above listed—even though Veteran’s Day will have passed.
Please share with us how you have made a difference today in the life of a Veteran. Below are some resources for you.
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DAV Thank a Vet. Here, you can add a picture to their mosaic. (Link here).
More than 13 million (million!!) American children live in households with uncertain access to food which supports a healthy life.
Schoolchildren who qualify for free or reduced lunches get those lunches only on school days. On Friday afternoons, these kids are each given a Power Pack—a sack which looks like a lunch sack yet is filled to the rim with power food. These Power Packs are provided by Freestore Foodbank and dependent on volunteers to bag the power food for them.
Yesterday, Saturday, I joined other volunteers at the Freestore warehouse and together we bagged nearly 1,500 Power Packs! Fifteen hundred may sound like a lot, but in reality, it barely scratches the surface to keep Cincinnati area kids from going hungry over the weekend.
According to the Freestore Foodbank, these are the stats and how our volunteer work impacts the community:
More than 13 million (million!!) American children live in households with uncertain access to food which supports a healthy life.
Donated food items are provided by area grocery stores, local partnerships, and community members and stored at the warehouse for distribution.
Volunteers—there were about forty of us in the ware house yesterday—we unloaded pallets of donated food and packed sacks—“Power Packs.”
Our warehouse serves 105 sites across the greater metropolitan area of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, distributing these Power Packs to schools.
These Power Packs are given to school children on Fridays so they can go home with power food to carry them over until the next school day, Monday.
Feeding America is the national association of affiliated food banks, which includes Freestore Foodbank. It is also the largest hunger relief organization, connecting community food pantries in every state of America.
Feeding America and Freestore Foodbank are dependent on volunteers. Another way to reach out with your volunteering support is to contact any soup kitchen, food bank or shelter local to you to find out what they need and how you can help.
Find your local food bank and who to contact for volunteering, based on your zip code.
I hope you will join in the efforts to make our communities a better place for our children. Please share in the comments about your volunteer experience. Together, we can ensure a better tomorrow—Children are our future.
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Community means joy, laughter, and rejuvenation.
Community enables a reconnection to the world and human spirits. (Quote as narrated in video, Security Dignity Community in
a Place Called Home at Tender Mercies.)
Schools, churches, and community groups volunteer hundreds of meals and thousands of hours to the residents of Tender Mercies. It is a supportive and transitional housing environment, located in Over-the-Rhine on 12th Street, here in inner city Cincinnati.
Last Thursday, I joined friends to share dinner with these folks. A few of my friends got together ahead of time, cooking lasagna and preparing other dinner items. I left work early that day (using “vacation time”) to meet my friends in the kitchen at Tender Mercies.
We served dinner to about sixty folks. I recognized some folks who came through our dinner line, as folks who hang out at the public library where I work.
One gentleman resident, Cleo, was already a familiar and friendly face for me. On Wednesdays, I pass through “his” street corner, where he sells the Street Vibes, a bi-monthly informative newspaper about the homelessness plight in our community.
Each Wednesday, I buy a paper from him and in return he tells me a joke.
And each Wednesday, Cleo and I exchange a big friendly hug. Thursday evening, I got another hug out of him (smile).
”Tender Mercies transforms the lives of homeless adults with mental illness by providing security, dignity, and community in a place they call home.” (Tender Mercies mission statement.)
Tender Mercies: If you are in our Cincinnati community and would like to know more; perhaps volunteer, visit Tender Mercies’ website.
Volunteer Needy: If you are in other parts of America and need a resource to point you where help is needed, this website is user friendly. It opens with a map of the United States—click on your state and from there, find out where to go and who to contact. Link here for their directory.
Please share in the comments your community experience. What is it like for you to share a meal with those in need?
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Cold weather is on the horizon. It’s time to pull our scarves and hat out of the closet. And it’s time to think of those struggling in the moment who need a scarf or hat—or especially, a warm coat.
Autumn and winter months are a terrible struggle for many people. Low income families with growing children often need help when it comes to sending their child off to school—coats, mittens, and rain or snow boots are a must have. Yet, many parents who already struggle with increasing bills in the winter months (heating bills, for one), can only wonder how to keep their kids safe and warm.
Those experiencing homelessness also have it rough. Sure, there are overnight shelters. Yet, there are not enough shelters and some turn people away for lack of identification or other problems. And some homeless people, who perhaps out of mental illness, are unwilling to turn to these shelters for help. And many over night shelters are just that—overnight—not letting people in until after dark, and then shut their doors early next morning. Outdoor temperatures are still frigid at seven or eight in the morning.
That’s their reality.
We can lift their burdens. Getting a warm coat and other winter gear to those in need can be naturally easy.
Some ways to help are:
When you buy yourself a new hat or pair of gloves, grab a second one and donate. Often, stores have sales of “buy one, get one half-price” or of a like-wise bargain—perfect for helping someone.
When Christmas shopping (or other holiday shopping), include a coat on your shopping list; a coat for someone in need.
As your child(ren) grow out of their coats, donate the old.
Keep extra gloves and hats in your everyday bag, or an extra coat or two in your car. When out and about, if you see someone, perhaps someone homeless, who is begging for assistance, offer them one of these extras.
Donate to coat drives. These drives are sometimes found through employers, local stores, clubs, schools, churches and synagogues.
Years ago, when living in New Mexico, and starting when the winter months hit, a child’s red wagon was parked in the sanctuary of my church. Coats and toys were collected by putting them in this red wagon. As we congregated for worship services every Sabbath, we’d see the wagon was fuller than the week before.
Or, you can run a coat drive yourself. This can be as simple or as involved as you’d like.
Earlier this month, through a community organization I belong to, I helped run a coat drive; a simple one.
Starting a month before our October monthly membership meeting, I put the word out that we would collect coats. I then followed up with messages on Facebook and other online places that our members hang out in. On our meeting night, I designated a table for collections. At the meeting’s conclusion, we bagged up the coats. These will be given to a community agency for disbursement. It was a “one-night” collection and went well.
For a more involved coat drive, visit the website for One Warm Coat. It is a resourceful tool to help you plan and promote your coat drive. They even have a map to click on to find out which agencies or places in your community to donate those coats.
Together, we can make positive change in our communities. We can help those in need. I hope you will join me in the efforts to ease the burden that cold weather brings to low income families, to those experiencing homelessness, and to others who simply need a helping hand.
Writers Conferences—the nuts and bolts—and what you can get out of going to one.
•You’ll connect with new writer friends. Those connections are valuable especially since you’re all going through the process.
•Your newly met friends may become your allies and accountability partners.
•You’ll clarify your book concept. Every time you practice talking about your book (not just writing it), you’ll get clearer about the direction you want to take.
•You’ll learn things you didn’t expect to learn. Sessions, lunch gatherings, and happy-hour mingling will present opportunities, which you didn’t expect.
Attending a conference:
Here in my greater Cincinnati area, I’ve been to several writer’s conferences, workshops, and the like, each of which garnered from our community. Last weekend, September 29 & 30, I stepped it up a notch by attending a conference which invited writers from all-around. Although, still here in Cincinnati, people came from as far away as California, New York, and Canada.
Given by Writer’s Digest, it was at the Renaissance Hotel downtown, with a friendly hotel ambiance that was comfortable, and plush. Before even hitting the check-in table, I met up with an online friend, Amy for breakfast, to meet in person for the first time—she lives in the New York area. Amy is an industry leader when it comes to teaching new authors how to promote our book(s) and I’ve been one of her groupies for more than a year.
When my book was hitting publication, I retained her marketing services for her know-how and action that I see she puts in to her passion. You see, an author is always responsible for carrying some, if not all the burden in marketing efforts. A publisher; most any publisher won’t do it all, nor could they even if they tried. My publisher is involved in the social media end of things, but they can’t walk with me in my daily commute to promote my book.
My breakfast time with Amy was not to talk business, but for us to get to know one another on a more personal level. I already knew we are the same age (by two months, I’m the older one)—we were in a group video conference on the day of her last birthday. Come to find out over breakfast, we have much more than age in common. It was an invaluable connection.
∼∼ ∼∼ ∼∼
With about 75 writers and authors in attendance, we mingled in the conference room, anxious for the 9:00 hour to start it off. At the front of the room was the podium. We took our seats, with many seats to choose from and four chairs to each table, all facing the front. Each table came with a carafe of water and a place to put our complimentary coffee. Through small talk, we encouraged each other to be proud of our published books. This could be seen as many of us pulled our book out of our tote bag (or attaché case or backpack) and laid it prominently on our table.
The conference opened with a presentation by another well-respected industry leader, Jane Friedman. She gave us her experience in publishing options and then how to proceed once published (the latter of which I tuned in to).
The weekend continued, all day Saturday and much of Sunday, with break-out sessions, guest speakers, and networking with fellow writers through lunch. Our break-out sessions spanned the gamut from readership connection to social media use to audio book consideration, and oh, so much more. Even Amy had her share of leading workshops during these break-outs.
Key-note speakers were Zetta Elliott (children’s author) and Tobias Buckell (sci-fi author). With the conference focused on diversity, Zetta shared her journey with us, as an African American woman who writes stories which give a voice to the diverse reality of children.
Aside from the structure in these sessions and listening to speakers, it proved to be an awesome opportunity to meet others. I learned from other authors who are a step or more ahead of me, and I shared my experience with those who are where I was a year or so ago.
Overall, it was great to see a big picture of opportunities and choices available to authors in our writing careers. This big picture will carry me forward as I continue to learn and make informed decisions, which ultimately will benefit readers.
A writing conference comes with nuggets:
•The craft and business of your writing life is enhanced when joining forces with others.
•It keeps you abreast of the rapidly changing shifts in the industry so that you can make informed decisions for the best-fit path in your journey.
•Its uplifting and motivational to be surrounded by other writers. The writing process can be solitary. Being surrounded by other writers who are also going through the process is motivating.
Conferences gives us the venue to invest in our dreams….
Like the protagonists in the books we read or write, we too have turning points in our journeys. A conference is our way of accepting the challenge and rising to the call. It means we are willing to invest in our dreams, learn all we can, teach others through our experience, and do the action.
If you are a writer,what are your thoughts? Have you ever attended a conference? Did your first conference change your outlook and attitude? What were some changes you saw in yourself after going to a conference?
If you are a reader,curious about my writing life,what are your thoughts? Have you ever attended a conference for your craft or profession? Did your first conference change your outlook and attitude? What were some changes you had after going to a conference? And if you knew your favorite author attended conferences, would this influence your opinion of that author?
Please join in the replying comments below. As writers and readers, we come together; it’s a “we thing.” -Elle-