In 2010, I attended a writers conference at Glen Eyrie castle in Colorado Springs. I had a friend I wanted to spend some time with, and this was an important place for her. We met there, and I tagged along. I loved watching her in her element.
I remember being asked several times, “What do you write?”. This wasn’t a question I was prepared for, and all I could say was “first lines.” I also wrote speeches as a member of Toastmasters, and I wrote and edited technical documents for the federal government. I had a small idea for a story, but honestly, I never thought I would finish it. I was, at best, a dabbler.
At the conference, I chose Nancy Rue‘s class because she was focusing on character development. I sat in the back of the room with another woman who was also trying to be inconspicuous. We went through several exercises, and my table mate and I started a friendship that I treasure today. We laughed, we read each other’s stuff, we encouraged each other. It was the best time.
And I sobbed my heart out.
I didn’t want to write the story God gave me. Part of that story was autobiographical, and I didn’t want to go back to that place. So instead of focusing on feelings, I would focus on technique and process. My novel would be published if it was meant to be, but first I had to focus on the craft.
I went home and spent some time trying. I wrote several thousand words in the weeks that followed. I bought a few how-to books. I started following author blogs. I started to believe it was possible. I would write a book. I might not publish it, but I would write it.
Then July 20, 2010 happened. I received a phone call that edited the story I had to write.