Let's Just Write! An Uncommon Writers ConferenceTwo weekends ago, I attended the Chicago Writers Association Let’s Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference at the Warwick Allerton Hotel. This conference was ready to go in March of 2020 when the world shut down. It was postponed to September of 2020, then to March of 2021, then to last weekend. Would it be postponed again?

 

If you’ve ever met me, you’d describe me as an extrovert. It’s true, I love people. They fascinate me — their stories, their dreams, their imagination and aspirations. Being with an inspiring group of people feeds my soul.

Kristin's green chair in front of the TV

But you’d probably never guess that I’m a bit of an introvert, too. I like my house. I like quiet times by myself with a good book. And sitting in my favorite overstuffed green chair with my daughter watching Oscar-nominated movies while eating a big bowl of popcorn is my idea of a perfect Saturday night.

Like everyone else, I spent much more time at home these last two years. I taught a few online courses, but while they were successful, they left me feeling empty. When the Zoom meetings ended, I was alone in my basement. No one was around to tell me they appreciated my talk or to ask me questions. Only silence. It was so depressing.

 

But I got used to being home and found it tiring to leave the house. Shopping at the grocery story for a few items was a huge deal. Meeting a writer friend at a restaurant for lunch seemed overwhelming. I found it tough to insert myself back into society. So, when the Let’s Just Write! March 2022 conference wasn’t postponed, I wondered how I would handle meeting, teaching, and socializing with 159 other people.

Kristin sitting with Samantha Hoffman and Ann Garvin

Honestly, the weekend was exhausting. But it was also exhilarating. It was as if I had been in the desert and suddenly found an oasis. I was back with my people. Writers who talked about characters, setting, and plot and took joy in being newly published or finishing a manuscript.

 

Over the weekend, I consulted with four talented writers and answered questions from how to overcome writer’s block when living in London to what to do now that the manuscript is written to how to make money at this (write erotica and write it quickly) to what titles work best for certain genres.

I enjoyed teaching a large group (60?) all about the benefits of critiquing (click here to receive the handout). Thirty-five of them signed up for my newsletter (Welcome!)!

Kristin and Charlie Monte Verde

I sat in on workshops on writer’s burnout, a sense of place, and free publicity and enjoyed eating lunch with Columbia College Professor Eric May (who presented at In Print years ago), CWA Board Member Charlie Monte Verde (pictured), and many new friends. Friday night, I had dinner with my editor and five others and we talked about the final stretch of my four-book series.

 

At the Saturday night dinner, I had the privilege of sitting with the CWA board and New York Times Bestselling Author Elizabeth Wetmore and her husband. Comedian Tim Clue had us  laughing while keeping us on our toes.

Sunday evening, I hosted the Let’s Just Read! Live Lit Event. Twenty-five brave souls read their stories and made us cry, laugh, ooo, and ah while my new glowing, chiming timer kept them to the two-minute time limit. And my friend Kate Fletemeyer made the 2-1/2 hour drive to Chicago and back delightful.

 

I was exhausted, but in a good way. The inspiration, joy, and excitement I felt has spilled over into these last two weeks. I’m so glad I was a part of it. I can’t wait until next year’s conference (March 25-26, 2023)!

 

Jumping for joy during a sunset

 

Many thanks to Samantha Hoffman, Executive Director of the Let’s Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference, and the Chicago Writers Association Board for all the hard work they put in to make this incredible event finally become a reality.

 

If you attended the 2022 Let’s Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference, I’d love to hear all about your conference experience. Contact me!

 

What’s happening in April

 

Cover Reveal! Cover design artist Patrick Knowles has created some amazing designs for my novel The Devil Particle. I’ll share his process and reveal the cover in my April writer’s newsletter.

Kristin's open computer and a legal pad of notes

Throughout April I’m writing The Renegade — the fourth book in The Devil Particle Series. I’m a hundred pages in, about a third of the way. I don’t know if I’ll finish this first draft in April, but I’m gonna try.

 

 

 

Kristin holding her books

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