This past June was my third trip to Nashville for the incredible UtopYA con, the best writers conference I’ve had the pleasure to attend. I went in 2012 as an aspiring author and a panelist because the founder Janet Wallace was one of the first friends I made when I became a writer. I wrote YA, read YA and loved the concept she had developed. I came away with 80 new and amazing “paranormal” friends, writers and bloggers who became my biggest supporters.
In 2013, I went back as a published author and panelist. I had my first book and even sold and signed a few copies, which I would have never done with out that community, and the support continued way past the conference as I constantly watched and learned new ways to grow with my new friends.
But the year clicked by and suddenly UtopYA 2014 came super fast! I went filled with gratitude as an Awards nominee, and a panel moderator! But my heart was heavy with the knowledge that I hadn’t made my biggest goal: getting the sequel to CLICKS out as I had intended. As every writer knows, when the words flow, and the books are well received, we’re on top of the world. But when the opposite happens, it feels crushing. I worried that the conference was going to be a bust for me, but it wasn’t. Thanks to a StandUp Indies class I had taken with Janet and other members of the community, I was able to focus on what I had accomplished, and I went with the vow to make the most of the weekend, to inspired, invigorated and all the important things that UtopYA has done for me since year one.
And amazingly enough, it worked! The proof is in the pictures, the memories, the new readers and friends. I had a table with Delphina Henley, hosted a panel on tackling World Issues in books that featured Chanda Hahn, Elizabeth Kirk and Magan Vernon and got to do the Friday night fan invasion with Rebecca Ethington. And Saturday I attended the awards ceremony and had a blast hearing my name called with all the other amazing nominees. In the past month I’ve gotten to relive so many amazing memories, and I’ll do a separate post with some of the highlights. But the impact of UtopYA is present for me every day In the new things I’ve done for my business and myself since coming home, in the way I’ve stayed connected with people who became so important to me in such a short time. I’m so filled with gratitude that I’m a part of this community. I have so many incredible people in my life, all of whom I’ve met over these three day weekends that are so very powerful, the impact lasts all year.
In 2015, I have some new friends – people I work with online but have never met – coming to meet at the first time in Nashville. We’re all there to meet and learn and connect. Now I just need to cross my fingers that I get to panel again, and hope to get off the waiting list for the Exhibitor space in time. I have faith though, because that’s what UtopYA is about: things that work out in a way that seems all most predestined. Because as writers, we always have the power to write our own future, and my friends and family from UtopYA are always here to help remind me of that every day between now and June of 2015.
This blog is part of a HOP with lots of great UtopYA friends. There are amazing prizes and things to win. Check here for more details daily:
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