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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Writer's Conference Number One

Yes, this is a blog about life on a little farm with my super handsome hubby and my rambunctious four boys. Really, it is! But please deal with me one more time as I tell you about the writer’s conference I just attended this past weekend.

First of all, thank you to everyone who has been stopping in to check out the blog and enjoy these stories. Thank you to all who read Only U.P. From Here and helped me as I quickly wrote and asked for feedback from all of you in just one week – it was great fun to write and I never showed it to anyone but it was worth it still. I promise, you’ll be hearing more from Jo. I have a zillion ideas now! - . Thank you to all who prayed for us to have a great time….

Because we did! S.C., J.R. and I had a total blast. (as if the initials of my friends isn’t enough to make you giggle…) It was our very first Writer’s Conference, and I am pretty sure it was apparent to all there. Before we had left I had made jam from two flats of strawberries (no, we are out of strawberries here on the farm, they all went underwater), put together a portfolio of some stories from here on the blog (school mornings and family pictures) and other writings I have done in the past (did you all know I used to write on a news paper (and miss it!) as well as church news letters and I send in essays for contests…which I have never won!) and, of course, the story you have been reading here. I also watched my cute adorable little nephew (whom I’ll be calling Jr here on the blog, the one who I visited when I was nearly arrested, you will recall) which meant I was up at 4:15 in the morning to greet him. We also finished summer school this week, it was crazy week to be gone – but when you live on a farm with four boys, EVERY week is crazy!

On Thursday night, the boys were off to my parents. I was awake til one putting together the portfolios just in case anyone wanted to read what I had written and racing around doing laundry. My husband needed towels and clothes to wear and I needed ‘business casual’ clothes to wear to the conference. I have no idea what business casual means – it means different things to different groups, really – but figured it meant dresses. On Friday morning at seven sharp, S.C. was there to drive us to the conference where we met J.R.

Good gracious, the things we learned! I spent most of the time with Dennis Hensley, who taught on Fiction writing. I have oodles of notes. And my rough draft that you all have been reading would mean nothing to him or anyone else of importance…except to me who loves it and to you who like it too!

S.C. and J.R. listened to Chip MacGregor most of the time. They have oodles of notes. In a week the three of us will be getting together to share all our notes.

Then Ann Byle arrived to the conference. She ended up being probably the one I learned the most from. She was excellent, and informed all of us that if you write you don’t have a clean house. Which is good and freeing to know, as if I could ever have a clean house since I live on a farm, my husband farms our farm, we have four boys, we have a dog and three cats and S3’s chickie has been eating breakfast with us. My house is already never clean, but now that I am a regular writer too, the house is just doomed. That’s why we have a home….not a house.

My mind is bulging with information. It will take me forever to process it all. But I already have plans to attend another writer’s conference this fall and between now and then I am going to attempt to send out some magazine articles to different family magazines.

On a personal note, this is the first time since I was pregnant with S2 that I was gone to a hotel with just girls. We giggled and snickered and laughed til we cried. We stayed up late, we fixed our make up, we wore dressy clothes, we went for nacho run at 10:30, we drank tons of coffee. We had a blast.

I am so thankful for these two friends of mine.

Probably the thing I have learned the most from this conference was that I write because I have to, it is in my heart, words flow thru my veins. If not a single person ever read a word I wrote, I still would write. While it is my dream to be published, as in a fictional novel(s) as well as funny stories of life, that is not why I write. If these writings here have brought you joy, if they have encouraged you to laugh at yourself, if they have caused you to pause and realize the blessings of children and family and husband, if you realize God has a sense of humor and loves us dearly, more than we love our children and families and husband…then I am a success. And besides all that, all my boys will one day appreciate all these stories….because I am their moma and they have to!

So, that is how the conference went. I will now go back to just writing about the boys for all of you who need good laughs. Stay tuned for Father’s Day story (S4 spilled the beans), adventures with the new slip and slide, the further adventures of Chickie and S3 and much much more.

Thank you all for your prayers, they were answered abundantly.

One more thing, of the stories you have read here so far, which ones are your favorites? I thought I would start looking at those first for future magazine articles.

Everyone have a great Sunday!

1 comment:

Jaime said...

It was a blast and such great info!!
Talk to you soon J.R