Monday, June 29, 2015

Throwing the Switch

By James P. Stuart 

I don’t remember the day I decided to become a writer. I get asked about that day quite frequently, perhaps because of the tremendous uphill battle we face in this industry. My family, friends and coworkers have all asked me at one time or another if there was a flash of light from above or a booming voice from a burning bush that set me on this path. But – much to the disappointment of many – there is no such grand event impressed on my mind. Luckily, after completing my first Pikes Peak Writers Conference this year, I am happy to report that while I may not be able to tell you when I chose to be a writer, I can absolutely tell you when I first felt like a writer.

Prior to coming to this year’s Conference, I had attended a handful of Pikes Peak Writers events. However, my participation in those events was considerably short of notable, and left me feeling like a bit of an imposter. This was due mostly to the fact that I was not investing my time and energy in any meaningful way to get the most out of those activities. Coming into the 2015 Conference, I was determined to break that cycle.

From the time I arrived at the orientation session on Friday until the time I (reluctantly) headed home Sunday afternoon, I immersed myself in everything the weekend had to offer. The most valuable thing I took away from the Conference was a tremendous burst of creative energy, stemming directly from the interactions I was able to have with so many aspiring and established writers. I was amazed at how quickly talking about my writing – no matter how casually – shed light on it and forced me to really know my stories and characters. Without having these conversations regularly, I had compartmentalized my work in a way that made it feel unreal. This was the root of my inability to feel like a true writer. The Monday morning following Conference, it was as if a switch had been thrown, and I was reintroduced to my own potential. For this, I am extremely grateful to everybody I interacted with in between sessions and at meals.

I cannot properly express how much I look forward to seeing you all next year, where I hope to have the opportunity to be inspired by even more of you. The sheer amount of talent in our community continues to astound me. I will do my best to be a large part of in the coming months until we are all back at Conference 2016!