Nine years and six novels later, my writing was better but far from professional. I sent out queries and proposals to literary agents. They confirmed what I suspected, I still wasn’t there yet.
My dreams began to feel flat. How could I have spent so much time and not be ready? As my spirit waned I sought out a writer’s conference. I hoped that if I connected with professional writers face-to-face I would know for sure if I was grasping for the impossible.
I remember the first day I stepped into the Writers Contreat in Albuquerque. My heart hammered and I kept touching my hair, feeling like an intruder. I put on my nametag and settled into a table. As the first presenter began my heart acquired a different rhythm: hope.
I filled pages with notes the next three days. The doors of publishing and social networking lost their alien tones and became full of exciting possibilities. I ate lunch with both successful multi-book published authors and newbies like myself.
I left the Contreat as an empowered writer with new friends and connections. I started a blog that now reaches hundred and sometimes thousands of people, I self-published a devotional, I have polished manuscripts being seriously considered by professionals, and, best of all, I am not alone. I am part of a critique group and writers support group that encourage me and constantly help me grow.
Writers need this. We need a constant inflow of new ideas and education. We need to bounce our thoughts off human beings and speak our goals into the open. That closet writer that toiled diligent and dedicated made less growth in her first nine years than what was done in a year and a half after she started getting feedback from peers and professionals.
Excited, I look forward to the next Contreat, the next group of editors, publishers, and authors that will teach and take time to talk personally with each of us. I am eager to hug old friends and meet new ones.
I am ready to experience the continual growth that is making my dreams come true.