Community and confidence.
I would not have connected the two a few years ago. Before I found my path as a writer.
Then so many doors opened in the form of my local network. I have made so many friends and connected with kindred spirits over such a short period of time. Each individual has contributed to my growing sense of self. They've lent me their strength and built a net of positive energy for my creativity.
Yes, it does sound a bit exaggerated, but that doesn't change the fact that it's true.
When I first went to a PPW event, I was the shy gal in the back, the one that felt out of place. The volunteers welcomed me and made sure I had access to their upcoming schedule, their resources, and answered the few questions I managed to ask. With every event thereafter, they recognized me and made sure to include me in conversations. Looking back, I can't picture myself without the friendship that bloomed from that beginning.
At my first opportunity to apply for a scholarship for Conference, I did everything wrong. The second time around, I had an entire community of writers there to advise me on how to better my chances. Without them, I do not believe I would have been awarded the gift of my very first writer’s conference. And I most certainly would not have been as confident in meeting all of the wonderful professionals that presented workshops there.
My biggest realization occurred at lunch on Day Two of Conference. I had tried to sit with an agent, but her table had filled up too quickly. So I made my way over to the table held for the editor I was meant to pitch to that afternoon. I figured that it wouldn't be too stalker-like, as long as I didn't hog the conversation. Someone asked the question, “How would you like to have a pitch given?” I perked up.
The editor thought for a moment and replied, “You know, I'd just like for someone to sit down like we've been friends for years and recommend the next book I should read.” I won't lie, I almost jumped out of my chair and screamed, “I can do that!” Because I'd been doing that for years with friends and family. All the nervous tension and stress I'd been feeling released and left behind a kind of jittery excitement. That's when I learned that industry professionals are just normal people trying to do their jobs. Like the rest of us.
The bonds I've made, at conference and all of the other events I've attended, are life altering. The people I now calls friends are irreplaceable. My community is a broad spectrum of talented writers and editors that show me every chance they get that I am where I belong. No other group of people celebrates me for my accomplishments, big and small.
So, community and confidence. One doesn't necessarily rely on the other, but both are stronger in unison. I am stronger with both of them in unison. There is no measure of gratitude that could ever be enough for such a wonderful blessing.
Jade N Goodnough is a writer who calls the beautiful city of Colorado Springs home. She has a short published in the very first Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group anthology, An Uncommon Collection. Her next short story will be released in the fall of 2014, and her multitude of novels will follow in the coming years. A winner of NaNoWriMo and PPWC scholarship recipient, Jade strives to become a better writer every day. You can find her online at: https://www.facebook.com/jade.goodnough
@jade_goodnough on Twitter
@jade_goodnough on Twitter