Last week I flew to Denver to celebrate the release of Flask of the Drunken Master and to attend an event hosted by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers–a summer get-together at which RMFW announced its 2015 Writer of the Year.
(Spoiler alert: It’s…me–although I didn’t know it in advance.)
I was honored to be a finalist along with talented authors Cindi Myers and Joan Johnston–a truly talented pair of New York Times Bestselling Authors.
Then, I was startled, humbled, and honored to be named the 2015 Writer of the Year–and not only because the award itself is so important (though it is).
I’ve never been the kind of person who won popularity contests. Left to myself, I’m the person at the back of the room, or on the side, a little anxious and uncertain about my place in the larger crowd.
Like many writers, I often feel uncomfortable in the world I inhabit. That’s one of the reasons I write–it’s in that world that I’m fully at home.
When I found Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers back in the summer of 2010, I’d attended a number of writers’ conferences, but always felt ill at ease. I never quite felt like I really belonged in that world. I wanted to–I’d self-identified as a writer for as long as I could remember–but between my lack of publishing credits and my anxiety in social situations (a surprise to some people, but it’s true!) I just couldn’t manage to pull myself out of my shell in the conference world.
Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Conference was the cure for that problem.
I went in September of 2010, not knowing a soul. As usual, I gave myself the goal of meeting (and remembering) three new people every day. To my surprise, I met far more than that. People saw my rainbow-colored “First Time Attendee” ribbon, introduced themselves, and made me feel at home. More importantly, they made me feel like a writer–at home in a group of writers–for the first time in my life.
I can’t say enough good things about Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers–and the fact that I’m the WOTY has absolutely nothing to do with my love for the organization, though I admit to feeling joyful and grateful at the knowledge that the people I love so much think enough of me in return to grant me such an overwhelming honor. RMFW is my tribe–has been my tribe since that very first conference.
And here’s the thing….we can be your tribe too.
If you’re feeling alone, or disheartened, and you need some friends to support you, please consider joining RMFW and attending Colorado Gold this September. (Registration and information at the link, but spaces are going fast, so now’s the time to make the decision.)
Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely, isolated road. Having a tribe to love and support you can make all the difference, and RMFW welcomes everyone with a love for writing and a desire to support one another in this difficult but wonderful endeavor.
Come to Colorado. Join us. And if you do, be sure to come find me…I would be honored to help welcome you to the tribe.