Any art form is essentially solitary work. The best offerings emerge from the depths of the artist’s soul. After a great creative session, one feels drained, tired and happy, because all that tumultuous emotion is now pinned to the page. In the best of all possible worlds, the artist then can reconnect with other artists, people who understand the process and have similar passions. A conference is rather like a family reunion, once you’ve made friends.
This year the Cuenca International Writers’ Conference was five days of building friendships and trying to capture all the insights, inspiration and encouragement offered. It’s inspiring to meet authors of multiple best-selling books who are humble, approachable, and supportive. There were a number of authors like that presenting workshops on the craft and business of writing. Every one of them shared their struggles as well as their triumphs and related peer to peer with folks at different stages of the process.
Our keynote speaker was Mark Sullivan, author of 18 books, many best-sellers, including Beneath a Scarlett Sky, soon appearing on the Big Screen.
Mark’s talks stressed the importance not only of finding our own most effective way to write and market, but the rituals to support us. His personal rituals include 1) meditation, 2) body workout, and 3) focused gratitude – all before writing. And frequent breaks to get blood and oxygen flowing again. Apparently the brain can focus effectively for only 45 – 90 minutes. He got us moving to untie the muscle knots and get oxygen to our brains.
As a long-time fan of the HeartMath Institute (https://www.heartmath.org/) , I appreciated his reminders of the power of integrating mind and heart for fresh thinking, creativity and effective living.
Speaking to the quality of our writing, Mark led us in an exercise to embody emotions. Then we shared how we could show what’s happening in a scene so that our readers can draw their own conclusions about what characters are up to. “Respect your readers’ intelligence!” I was instructed to embody curiosity, while Chris embodied shame. When you go into your body and into the moment, there’s so much to learn.
The value of a conference is how it affects you after the event. I can tell you that in the days since this conference, ideas are flooding in, along with clarity about what’s next, and what’s after that. Shhhhhh.
There’s going to be another volume in the Energy Unveiled series entitled Godlets Arise.
The new series – The Strategic Sisterhood of Divine Disorder – will feature some of your favorite characters from the Energy Unveiled series.
There is another new series birthing: The Temple: Stories of a Sexual Healing Sisterhood.
And there are more recommendations, giveaways and freebies coming soon!
Mark Sullivan is only one of the inspiring presenters who gave us fuel for the future. You can go to the conference website here – http://cuencawritersconference.com/ – to see the list of presenters along with an abundance of delightful photographs. A lot of people worked really hard last year to bring this expanded conference into being. From all who attended, our heartfelt gratitude for this gathering of the clan and high hopes for what next year will bring.
I’m still glowing from autographing books and feeling like a real, honest-to-goodness, successful author. Selling books and connecting with supportive and encouraging peers builds one’s confidence. And writing the next book is simply another stage in an author’s personal growth. Remember –
Consciousness structures thought.
Thought structures language.
Language structures reality.
In other words – words matter.