Sunday, April 26, 2009

Amazing People, Amazing Conference

By Nichole Giles

I spent the weekend at the LDStorymakers writer’s conference, and boy, what an inspiration. Every year, this is the conference to which I most look forward all year. The one where I know so many people and where I have always been made to feel like a part of things.

Those who know me will understand when I say I’ve come a long way since my first conference in 2005. That year, it took every ounce of courage I had in me to even admit I wanted to write. And I didn’t say much to anyone, didn’t make loud comments, and was not outgoing in striking up a conversation. I was at a low point in my life, and trying to claw my way back up.

This year, I stood up on stage in front of the entire audience and participated in a skit to encourage new attendees to join our online writer’s group. And there’s more. During the skit, I actually took the microphone and sang. Solo for two whole lines until the rest of the participants joined in. Something I haven’t done since high school (ahem, many years ago.)

In case you’re wondering what has gotten into me, I’ll tell you. Confidence. Self respect. Self-assurance. Self value.

And while you may be thinking that’s something I should have had before I started writing, I didn’t. Or at least hadn’t for years. Very often, when women get married young, dedicating themselves to having children and being good wives, they are in danger of losing their self identity, and in the process all of the things I mentioned above. That was me. And I could go into a long story here about myself and how I happened to go in search of something that was mine—something I never knew I always wanted—but that would make for a really long—and probably boring—blog.

Suffice it to say, when I knew—really truly knew—I wanted to write, I spent a lot of time praying that God would point me in the right direction. That He would help me know how to go about doing what I wanted so badly to do. And then I happened on a flier for the LDStorymakers conference—which just so happened to be a week away. I called the number and talked to Tristi Pinkston—who is now a very dear friend—and signed up. She told me I could pay at the door, and the next week, I showed up with no idea what to expect.

And what I got there was priceless. Invaluable. More than I could ever pay for in this lifetime or the next. The killer is, I get the same treatment, lessons, and more, every year I attend. These people are more than teachers and instructors. They truly care about every person at the conference, and they want to see us succeed. And because of them, so many of us will.

(Picture of a small portion of our writer's group.)

This year’s conference was truly amazing. And to be honest, I spent all of Sunday being sad that it was over. But that’s not completely true. It isn’t over. Not in the least. I have a whole year—and an amazing online group put together from attendees—to look forward to next year’s conference. In the meantime, I aim to show my utter and complete gratitude to the Storymakers by making the most of what I’ve been taught.

How? By getting published.



J Scott Savage said...

And when you get published I will be the first in line to buy a book. Loved your song!

LexiconLuvr said...

You sang beautifully. I'm rooting for you! You show 'em. ;)

ElanaJ said...

Man! I wish I could have been there! Sounds sooo fun!

Kellie said...

You have a beautiful voice! I was so impressed with the song:) I love seeing you at the conferences every year and am so glad that you came again this year. You've done so much for AI and we all appreciate it. And I might be pushing Savage to the side so I can be first in line for your book!

Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm all sniffly now, Nichole! I'm so glad you picked up that phone and called me.

Nichole Giles said...

Jeff, I totally expect you to be there!

Laura, thanks for the encouragement! You're a great friend.

Elana, I wish you could've been there, too. It was fun. Maybe next year?

Kellie, well...okay. If you want to fight Jeff for his spot in line, I won't stop you. In fact, I'll appreciate having a front row seat to that event.

Tristi, sniff. Me too.

Karen Hoover said...

Hey, I'll be in on that scuffle! I want the first book! lol