By the mid twenty-tens, I’d been writing for several decades, but it wasn’t until I attended the 2015 Creative Nonfiction Conference that I truly believed my stories mattered.
The conference was located in Pittsburgh. I drove there with my mentor Sharon Harrigan. Over the next two days, I attended presentations by self-proclaimed “Godfather of Creative Nonfiction,” Lee Gutkin, Washington Post editor, Adam Kushner, and one of my literary heroes, Dinty Moore. This was in addition to panels that included agents, journalists from the New Yorker and New York Times, and authors of memoirs and essay collections.
Between sessions, Dinty signed my dog-eared copy of The Mindful Writer, a pocket-sized manual on writing that’s still one of my daily readers. He told me to write true and that’s a promise I’ve worked to keep over the past five years.
During meet-and-greets, attendees not only asked about my project, they showed genuine interest. A few shared stories with me that were as harrowing as my own. We exchanged email addresses and Facebook friend requests.
Little by little, I claimed my space as a writer. By the end of the weekend, I understood that stories were the glue that binds us together. Each and every one is essential.
Over the next few months, I applied the skills I learned during the conference to land my first big publication.
I signed up for the 2016 Creative Nonfiction Conference and subscribed to their quarterly magazine. Creative Nonfiction’s brilliant essays and columns have served as exemplars that motivate me to find deeper truths in my personal experiences and reveal them elegantly.
This year, I taught my first webinar for Creative Nonfiction, “Writing Through Challenging Times.” On February 24, 2021, I’ll teach a second one on harnessing the power of your emotional beats.
While I could probably name many launch points for my writing career, attending Creative Nonfiction’s conferences and discovering its magazine were foundational.
Supporting Creative Nonfiction as part of my #Giveaway4Good Challenge is my way of saying thank you to the organization that helped me believe I am a writer and gave me the tools to become a published one.
You can earn four tickets toward this week’s drawing by subscribing to their magazine or making a ten dollar gift.
This week’s prize is a box of author-signed published during 2020 by Sharon Harrigan, Athena Dixon, Lara Lillibridge, Molly Howes, Rose Anderson AND a spot in Jane Friedman’s self-study Query Master Class.
You’ll also get a copy of the book I recommend most frequently to all authors, The Business of Being a Writer. This prize is a $200 value, all for supporting the organizations that support you.
To donate, click here.
To subscribe to their quarterly magazine, click here.
To enter this week’s drawing, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include the amount of your donation or a screenshot of your social media support.
To learn more about the challenge or how supporting Hippocampus Literary Magazine, Brevity, James River Writers, or any other literary nonprofit can help you score tickets for this challenge, click here.
Thank you in advance for your literary citizenship.