I’ve been meaning to write this blog post since Saturday afternoon, upon my return from the Northwest Arkansas Writers Free Conference. Oddly enough, I intended to title the post “Blessed.” This morning, as I see #Blessed is a trending hashtag on Twitter, I decided I can’t procrastinate any longer.
At Saturday’s conference, I was one of the morning presenters, with my Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen. I discussed two different methods I use to develop and deepen my characters:
- Interviewing the character
- Describing a photo or painting in the voice of your character
Here’s a copy of the PowerPoint I used in this presentation: Memorable Characters.
If you’d like to read an excellent recap of the day, my friend, Staci Troilo wrote about it on her blog. Click here to read her post titled, “Six Speakers, I Mean, Reasons Why Saturday Was So Great.” Thanks to Staci’s summary of the day’s events, I can move on to the reason I wanted to write this post.
I left the conference with a smile on my face and a warm, sated feeling inside. Why? Because as a writer, my primary goal is to affect someone with my writing, to make a difference. Sure, it’s nice to sell books. But I’ve found in the past that what satisfies me most is not selling a book, but hearing from a person who took the time to tell me she liked something I wrote or said, that it made her think differently.
And Saturday, I was blessed enough to hear it about both my presentation and my book.
But, that wasn’t what I thought most about as I drove home that day. Instead, I found myself thinking about how blessed I am to be a part of such a giving writing community as the Northwest Arkansas Writers. We are so very lucky that Dusty Richards and Velda Brotherton started this group and, after more than twenty-five years, continue to mentor us each week.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again and again and again. I would not have completed writing The Red Kimono without them. What leaders they are, in so many ways. Their attitude of giving and sharing has trickled down, and many of the authors they have “raised” now give back. I saw it in the faces of all of the volunteers who helped out with Saturday’s conference.
The night — almost seven years ago–that I first visited the critique group I later came to know as the Northwest Arkansas Writers was one of the luckiest (most blessed) days of my life.
NOTE: All photos courtesy of Jim Davis.