The Light Begins Within

Candle nightIn honor of Christmas and the solstice this week, we’re each blogging about our moments when we stepped “into the light”–that is to say, the moment we thought we just might succeed at writing. And I can’t seem to get the song “This Little Light of Mine” out of my head, so I’m just gonna go with it.

The first time I thought I might actually make this author thing work was also the first time I invested in myself financially as a writer. For me, this meant signing up for and attending a writers’ conference in my hometown.

On a drizzly April day I put on what I thought was an “artsy” looking outfit: black dress, black tights and boots, and a colorful scarf. I picked up my nametag and binder at the check-in desk, and planted myself in a chair to take in as much information as I could about writing, both as a craft and as an industry.

I came away from that conference realizing that I had a lot learn about the business of writing and selling books. But I also had a concrete checklist in my mind of what I needed to do to help myself get there. First and foremost, I needed to get my manuscript in the best shape possible. I needed a website. I started a blog. I signed up for another conference. I honed my pitch and query letter.

But more important than all of those things was the fact that I had sat in a room full of writers and said, implicitly, “I am one of you.” No longer was it enough to tap at my computer keyboard in the comfort of my apartment. My work, and the creative side of me, needed to step into the sun.

 

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Susan Gloss is the author of the novel VINTAGE (William Morrow/HarperCollins, March 2014). When she's not writing, toddler wrangling, or working as an attorney, she blogs at Glossing Over It and curates an online vintage store, Cleverly Curated.

6 thoughts on “The Light Begins Within

  1. Having been raised a Quaker, the concept of “the light within” is very familiar to me (and I remember singing that song, too 🙂 ).

    And I like your example, since, as you describe it, the change was really in you. You didn’t require that room full of writers to stand up and say, “Yes, Susan, you are one of us.” You _were_ one of them, obviously (even though, as you say, implicitly), and that’s what’s important.

  2. Great moment to recall, Susan. I felt the same way when I went to my first mystery writers conference. I’d been to AWP a couple of times by then, but I didn’t feel the connection I expected until I went to Bouchercon, the world mystery conference. Now I try to go every year.

  3. It’s so true, Susan — investing in ourselves is a huge thing. I felt the same way when I signed up for my first writers conference. It’s a momentous leap for sure.

  4. I remember having that exact same feeling at my first writers’ conference – the sense that I had come “out of the closet” and into a community. I felt like a real writer, in ways I hadn’t before, and I think the decision and the commitment had a lot to do with it. It’s easy to forget that feeling, years down the line – thank you for the reminder.

  5. I love this! And I completely agree about conferences. It’s when we finally get to be among others like us, our people! It’s so important.

  6. I had a very similar experience the first time I went to a conference. What a moment! I walked on air for weeks after it. For the first time I knew I was truly moving into a new phase of my life.

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