Even after writing more and more books and even after meeting more authors in Utah and making more friends, I still didn't quite understand what a writing community was. Once I joined a critique group I heard a lot about the Utah writing community, but I don't know that I really understood it.
It wasn't until these past three days that I spent at the LDS Storymakers Conference that I realized that this place doesn't have a writing community, it has a WRITING COMMUNITY.
So here's what I learned in those three glorious days.
Don't go into a Publication Primer group you're supposed to lead telling yourself "I'm SO not qualified to do this", because your group will inevitably be awesome.
Authors can get DOWN
Everyone needs that one friend who will sit at the back of the class with them and make Pretty Little Liars references.
Critique groups might be even more awesome/weird than X-Men
Always watch your back, because Charlie Pulsipher might suddenly run at you like a dinosaur
Don't bother trying to look fancy. You'll just be an exhausted, psychotic mess by the end of all of this
Always keep your cool when you're about to meet James Dashner, and try not to say things like, "I've now touched someone who's touched Dylan O'Brien" because that just comes off as creepy
If you're going to take a group picture, make sure you treat it like a Pitch Perfect poster
Read other people's books. Because they're fantastic
Don't creepily take a picture of someone you spot buying your book... because you'll find out later that they were in your Pub Primer group and you'll have to come clean.
Always listen to Mindy Holt. She is the Oracle of all awesomeness
Weasel your way into the boys club if you can (I'm looking at you Frank Cole, Tyler Whitesides, James Dashner, Charlie Pulsipher, and others)
Sign someone's arm, because it'll make you feel like a rockstar
Take epic pictures, just because you can
And track down agents you thought looked like a certain character from a TV show and take pictures with them, because there's no faster way to kill your career :)
Although I mostly pranced around and took pictures, I actually did learn valuable things that I probably should have learned before releasing 9 books into the world. Mostly querying and pitching.... things.... But I did learn that I can describe Parrish as:
What would happen if Tim Burton turned Scooby Doo into a twisted love story.
Oh how I love that story. Can't wait until October when you guys can love that little weirdo as much as I do.
So there you have it.
Storymakers firmly has my vote.
Until next time,