What I did on my mid-summer vacation

Squaw Valley

Well, dear reader, once again I must apologize for my lack of blog activity. I could list a litany of excuses, but let’s just say I’ve been busy of late. Some of my (mis)adventures will be detailed in future blog posts when I have a moment. I must say that the first half of 2018 has been exciting.

In writing news, I’ve had two stories accepted for publication, while a third received an honorable mention in a competition some of you may recognize. More about that in a later post.

The most rewarding experience by far was attending the Squaw Valley Community of Writers summer conference. For one glorious week in mid-July, I participated in intensive workshops and attended panels. Every afternoon and evening, we heard from such literary voices as Amy Tan, Karen Joy Fowler, Elizabeth Tallent, and Tom Barbash. Agents and editors including Cal Morgan, Michael Carlisle, and Joy Harris, spoke to us about the publishing industry.

When I arrived in the Olympic Village at Squaw Valley, California, I was definitely suffering from imposter syndrome–that frightening feeling that you lack the necessary credentials and knowledge to be included in a group. Despite being accepted to the conference after they’d read my partial manuscript, I was certain that there’d been a mistake, and that I would be mocked as a terrible writer, a hopeless hack. But after only a day in the supportive and collaborative atmosphere of the Community, I breathed easier and felt like I belonged.

The week was mentally exhausting, every moment filled with information that I squirreled away in my brain for future reference. I met other writers who are at various stages in their journey, and I hope that some of those budding friendships will blossom into deeper connections post-conference.

I’ve been on a two-week camping adventure since the conference ended so I haven’t yet applied what I learned at Squaw, but I’m back to work now, feeling energized and inspired by my all-too-brief time in the mountains. Here’s to keeping that energy flowing!

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