March Madness 5: Believing in Yourself

Anyone who’s visited my place would understand when I say my garden beds are a little on the wild side. Not in a nice, English country garden style of wildness, but more of a weed-filled, woodsy mess. Even in the middle of gardening season they tend to get neglected and the ferns and salal that pop up in places where they don’t belong, get ignored.

Woods 1

 

Ferns 1

(Animals that show up where they don’t belong are harder to ignore but I have a ‘live and let live’ philosophy about them, too.)

Bear 1

I’d like the gardens to be more civilized, but I’ve come to accept that moss and weeds are more energetic than I am. More persistent, too.

Years ago a friend gave me a wonderful gift… a set of Celtic-themed garden stones that look exactly right in my au natural space. I have them tucked into special spots around the yard where their messages bring a moment of of reflection each time they’re encountered. Despite a bit of moss, one in particular seems very appropriate for us writers as we move into these last few days of our March Madness — Believe.

Believe2

  • Writing is more fulfilling when you believe you are an authentic writer.
  • Reaching a goal is more likely if you believe you can.
  • Persisting in the face of discouragement and rejection is easier if you believe in the value of what you’re doing.

Insecurity and uncertainty hound all of us at times. I’ve been writing for many years, but I think I first began really believing in myself as a writer after hearing Robert Dugoni’s keynote speech at the closing of the 2010 Surrey International Writers’ Conference. It was a re-visioning of Aragorn’s rally call, ending with a rousing, “This day we write!” and it resulted in a standing ovation from all 600 attendees. If you need an extra dose of inspiration, consider taking the time to listen to it:  http://www.booksontheradio.ca/podcasts/Bob_Dugoni_SiWC.mp3

And then head into these last couple days believing you are a writer and you can reach significant goals on this journey if you will keep trying.

Do you believe?

~

Now… I’d like to give away yet another March Madness prize from our prize arsenal. Today’s winner is…

Girl Parker!

Congratulations! Stop by our goal-setting post, and choose your prize from those still listed. Then e-mail Denise at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com with your choice and we’ll get it out to you as soon as possible.

And if you didn’t win, there are still lots of great prizes to be won, so keep checking in each day. It’s not over until it’s truly over!

Our second-to-last check-in is tomorrow at Angelina Hansen’s blog.

~  ~  ~

 

What happens at SiWC….

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What happens in Surrey doesn’t necessarily stay in Surrey! If this video by Kimberly (@kimmydon) doesn’t convince you the Surrey International Writers’ Conference is THE place to be, nothing will. Where else would you see uber-agent Donald Maass literally stripping the [auctioned] shirt off the back of uber-author Robert Dugoni?


I couldn’t get to the conference this year, but followed the highlights via Twitter and Facebook, and am already looking forward to attending the 2012 conference — its twentieth anniversary year. It’s impossible to contemplate missing this conference two years in a row, though not necessarily because of the fun aspects.

Were you there? Or have you attended other conferences this year? What were the highlights for you?

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SiWC in Retrospect

Even if you leave late nights to the partiers, the pace at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference keeps your brain in perpetual motion. Every year I come home emotionally recharged but physically and mentally exhausted. It takes a couple days before my brain kicks into gear again, and I can begin to digest all the nourishment it’s been fed.

During registration I added a fourth day to the Conference package, drawn by the addition of James Scott Bell to the panel of presenters. His Thursday Master Class on Next Level Fiction went way beyond informative –it was stimulating, rejuvenating, and motivating, and the same can be said of the workshops he led over the next three days. He brought a fresh voice to the panel, and shared his expertise with confidence, warmth and humour. (I also had a ‘Blue Pencil’ interview with him that brought light into the darkness of a long-standing genre dilemma. For that alone I am supremely grateful.)

There were many other notable presenters there, too, of course — fifty of them in all — sharing their wisdom and wit. Some were familiar and much-appreciated people from previous years; some were also post-mealtime keynote speakers whose words brought nods of agreement, laughter and standing ovations – Elizabeth Engstrom, Tim Wynne-Jones, Ivan Coyote, Julia Quinn, Arthur Slade. The closing address by Robert Dugoni left me in tears!

I’m not going to try and condense all my notes to share with you. Other conference attendees around the blogosphere are posting theirs, but it’s impossible for me to convey all the benefits of attendance to someone who wasn’t there. Words on a page can’t replicate the experience.  I heard more than one presenter call the SiWC the best conference in North America. How can I give it any better accolade than that?

 

"It's a wrap!"

Update: I haven’t provided a lot of conference details here, but DD Shari Green has blogged each day since our return. Check out her posts for a more intimate look at all the highlights, beginning with her post on Monday.