I feel blessed to have been a part of the first ever utopYA Con. It was such an amazing experience to be surrounded by a truly inspirational group of authors.The event began with a heartfelt and very funny keynote by Myra McEntire. (I just read it again on her blog and cried…again.) Myra shared her own journey of becoming a writer and that it’s up to you to live your dreams. She really set the mood for the weekend. It was all about learning from each other and lifting each other up and that is exactly what happened.Another theme that proliferated the event was the idea that there is room for everyone at the top. In one of the sessions Willow Cross mentioned that her books take about a week to read. She asked, “What are my readers supposed to do the other fifty one weeks in the year?” Why not recommend books her readers might enjoy? It’s so simple, but makes so much sense. Authors do not have to be in competition. We saw examples of what can happen when authors band together to provide advice and support.It was a beautiful thing to see the bonding that happened throughout the weekend among authors and readers alike. In our closing keynote, the floor was opened up to the audience to share their experiences. Tears were shed and life-long friendships were forged. One of the young teenage writers said it best when she said that no one acted like they were better than anyone else, wether they were published or not. Afterward, one author said if she ever got too famous and could only ever go to one conference, utopYA would be the one she would come back to.I came away from this weekend filled with an amazing energy. I believe more than ever that I am meant to be a writer. With a little faith and a lot of work I can make that happen. Best of all, I don’t have to do it alone. There is a community of writers out there willing to cheer me on.I want to say a public thank you to Janet Wallace for creating and funding utopYA and for letting me a part of it. Thanks also to Jaime Anderson for his spreadsheets and late night laughs and Susan Burdorf for her giving spirit. I can’t wait to do it all over again.
Lessons Learned From UtopYA