It’s true. At times, our friends know what is better for us than we do. There are times when you think you don’t want something, and the next thing you know you’re smack dab in the middle of wanting.
My moment of realizing what I wanted happened at the 2008 Romance Slam Jam (RSJ) in Chicago. The event literally changed my life. But let me tell you, my journey wasn’t all sugar and spice. I had to be dragged to the writer’s conference. Really.
My desire to attend RSJ was strictly from an avid reader’s perspective. I love reading romance. If you mix it with suspense or history—I’m a diehard fan.
My plan was simple: meet, greet and read. RSJ was a way for me to meet some of my favorite authors, snap a few pictures, meet other readers and talk about our favorite characters as if they were next-door neighbors.
However, my friend, who is also my critiquing partner, had other plans. “Come and go,” she said. “It will be fun,” she promised. “You write for a living, maybe you’ll get inspired to write a book,” she persisted.
I didn’t want to write a book. I wrote enough on my regular job, and didn’t have the inclination to sit in front of a computer at home too. I wasn’t interested in the dynamite workshops RSJ had to offer, or the talented authors sharing everything from their books, to the craft of writing. Didn’t interest me.
Until I got there. Whoa. As I said before, my life (no bull) changed.
At RSJ, I met some of the most down -to-earth people imaginable. All that talent in one room astounded me. And four things happened to me:
• I was inspired by their willingness to teach others how to excel.
• I was encouraged to do what I thought I didn’t want to do because I didn’t have time, or I was too tired from writing all day.
• I was pushed to unlock stories I had tucked away on my hard drive.
• I was persuaded to give the craft of romance writing a chance.
Two very dear authors, who will remain nameless (out of respect) at this time, wouldn’t let me give up. Remember my blog about when we help others we help ourselves? Well, they were and still are relentless. 🙂
They challenged me, threatened me if I thought about quitting, and cheered me on with each success. They helped me through meltdowns and stalled scenes.
I put in a full eight hours of writing at work, and then wrote every day until one or two o’clock in the morning. On weekends, I rarely left my house—or my room. My daughters checked on me, knocked on the door to see if I answered, and fed me occasionally.
Four months after Slam Jam, I completed my manuscript. Twelve months later, my baby is a finalist in Passionate Ink’s Stroke of Midnight contest.
As a writer, you have to attend at least one writer’s conference. If you’re writing, want to write, like to write or want to learn to write—attend a writer’s conference. If you need a dose of adrenaline, or aren’t quite sure what your next move will be—attend a writer’s conference.
More important, if you write or read African-American or multicultural romance, you owe it to yourself to attend RSJ. The next conference will be a cruise sailing to Grand Cayman—talk about inspiration!
Dreams, even those you think you don’t want, can be achieved with determination, support and very persistent friends, who know what you want before you do. Cherish them.