Monday, May 21, 2012

My Five Years of LDStorymakers

I attended my very first LDStorymakers conference in 2008. It was held in late March, which coincided with Spring Break here in Texas, allowing me to drive up with my girls, helping to justify the trip. I had finally decided to take my writing self seriously, and threw myself into learning about both the LDS market and the authors who had succeeded there.

I hadn't personally met anyone in the LDS writing community at this point, but by frequenting writer's blogs and reading their work, I had come to know and admire a number of people. Including the lovely and talented Tristi Pinkston, who's quarterly writing challenges played a big roll in my developing a positive writing ethic.

I loved the conference and attended both boot camp and all of the workshops. I learned so much! I did not, however, sign up to attend the inaugural Whitney Awards banquet, a decision I regretted as soon as I drove away from the hotel after the last workshop, and a mistake I will never make again.

After that conference, I knew I would be back, despite living 1000 miles away. I set two goals for LDStorymakers 2009: To enter the first chapter contest, and have my book done so I could pitch it to one of the LDS publishers.

I had a great time at LDStorymakers 2009. I was much more comfortable with myself, many of my writing friends from 2008 were there, and I met a number of new friends as well. There was still so much to learn, too!

My first chapter for Space Corp General won first place in the Youth Speculative Fiction category, I (barely) kept from passing out as I waited to do my pitch, and I took another picture with Tristi Pinkston.

By LDStorymakers 2010, I had a contract with Cedar Fort for my new book, and it was while at the conference that I learned the title: Bumpy Landings.

And there were even more new friends. So many new friends that I may have, somehow, forgotten to get a picture with Tristi.

But I remembered in 2011!

By the time this conference rolled around, my book had been out for several months, and I was a proud badge-wearing member of the LDStorymakers family. And yet even though I had a published work of my own, there were (are) still so many things for me to learn!

Shortly after the 2011 conference ended, I was asked to be on the committee for the 2012 conference. Talk about an amazing experience! Working with Jaime and Heather and the rest of the committee to help put together this most recent conference was a great honor, and a fun way to keep Storymakers in my heart all year long. I also had the chance to present a workshop this year, which was extremely fun.

And I got to hang out with Tristi again.

After past conferences, I may have, on occasion, gotten a bit choked up at the thought that I would have to wait a full year for this awesome conference to come around again. But I have been asked to co-chair the 2013 conference with Heather Justesen, and there has been no time for tears this year!

Between preparing for next year's conference and the first-ever 2012 LDStorymakers Midwest Writers Conference this September, every day has been LDStorymakers.

And I couldn't be happier.


Sheila said...

I loved your post! I hope that I can soon follow your pathway.The photos were also awesome. You and Tristi are both looking very awesome in the year of 2012!! I also really loved your class this year! You will do great in your new position for next year's conference!

Stephanie Black said...

It was great to see you, Don, and you and Heather will be awesome co-chairs!