Sunday, February 28, 2010

Inspiration at a Writer's Conference

I've been allowing myself to feel defeated where writing is concerned. I've been questioning why I put myself through the vigors of writing. I've given myself all sorts of reasons why I can't do it, new job, 4 kids, church calling, hack writer, etc. Despite how often I tell you of my lows, I really do try to stay positive most of the time, but underneath my pseudo confidence lurk feelings of failure and inferiority. I've been praying about what I'm doing wrong. I've been needing guidance and inspiration. Yesterday, I got it!

I had the priviledge to attend ANWA's writer's conference. I found myself overwhelmed by emotions as I listened to different writer's discuss their own path's to being published. Their roads were filled with the same ups and downs I experience. And hearing them tell us to push through the hard times and encourage us to continue, brought me near to tears everytime. The dream sometimes seems too far out of reach for me but yesterday it felt a little closer. I'm going to touch a little bit on each of the speakers that touched and inspired me. I will focus on just one of the speakers today, next Sunday I will share more.

Our keynote speaker was J. Scott Savage, author of the Farworld Series. He talked about what holds us back from achieving our dreams. After going through several things we use as excuses he finally hit on the real answer, what holds us back is OURSELVES!! I've know this about me and I think I thought it was only me that held myself back, it was kind of a relief to know I'm not the only one. He talked about focusing on the things we can control, like doing our very best. He also cautioned us against comparing ourselves to others. We can't fall for the following thoughts:
-My story stinks (everyone feels this way at some point, don't let a stinky story stop you)
-I'm better/worse than... When we read, don't compare, ask yourself what did or didn't work
-I could never...write like this, or create that. Focus on what you can do
-I didn't get... he said lots of published writers fall for this one. They feel jipped if their publisher gives more publicity or attention to another writer. You can't control this, don't let it be your excuse to give up.
-That was my idea... by now must of us know that it's not the ideas that are original but the executing.

Another thing he mentioned that really resonated with me and brought me to near tears was when he talked about recognizing the approach of dawn. Sometimes we are "Dancing in the Dark" (a song by Bruce Springsteen about writer's block) and we want to give up. That is when we need to recognize that the dawn is approaching and we just need to hang in there a little longer. He compared it to climbing a mountain. When you first start something new the path is clear and we are excited. The higher we climb the less clear it is. Our frustration builds as we near the next level. The urge to quit is a sign that we have reached the top level of our growth. We need only keep going to reach the glorious top. He ended by admonishing us to allow ourselves to succeed.


  1. I have such respect for Jeff. He is a constant source of inspiration, edification, and enthusiasm. I'm glad he helped you make it over your hurdle and that you're keeping on.

  2. This is so true. Often when I hit a road block, I find that I am the only thing that is blocking my way. Whether it be my list of excuses, or my fear of failure. I loved your post Nikki and the songs. Thank you for sharing the wisdom you gained at ANWA's conference.

  3. Thanks for that inspirational post, Nikki, and for the link to ANWA! I think I might join up...

  4. Nikki, I couldn't agree with Jeff any more. What holds us back is ourselves. I am experiencing that right now.

    Like a mother in the hospital, ready to bear down to have her baby, I can FEEL that it is MY time to get published.

    I have actually been dragging my feet about finishing my edits because, you know what? There is NO going back.

    Once I get this book published, my life will forever change.

    I know it.

    I am scared. And excited. But I will still take the plunge because that is the road that Heavenly Father wants me to take!

  5. L.T.-Jeff really is a great guy and a good inspirational speaker. I really enjoyed listening to him!
    Amber-I'm glad you liked it, it was a very inspirational conference I'll write more next week!
    Rebecca-definately join up! I met sooo many people that way and they are all so helpful. If you don't have a group in your area you can join one of the cyber groups, they meet once a month in a chat room.
    Elizabeth-It is your time!! It's time for all of us, we can do this, we just need to believe in ourselves and know that it's possible.

  6. You're on the ball to have a conference review up so quick! Would you consider submitting this to the ANWA newsletter?

    I loved Jeff's message, too, especially about the dawn approaching.

  7. WooWee! I love that Miley song. Turn it on and turn it up and sing loud!
    Michelle Teacress

  8. I really admire Jeff Savage. Thanks for posting about his speech. Sounds like it was an awesome conference!

  9. Thanks for the post. I was at the conference, too and Jeff was really down to earth and honest and very motivating. I'm glad you put the links to the songs in there - so fun.

  10. Jeff is so motivating. I remember he was the VERY FIRST author I'd ever heard speak way back in 2002. I came away from his presentation, thinking, "I can do this!" And yes, there are so many ups and downs, still are, it doesn't matter where you are in the journey. I hope to get to that conference sometime!

  11. Great article about a great speaker, Nikki. Thanks!



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