If you’ve been following me at all, you know that I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at LTUE. LTUE stands for Life, the Universe, and Everything. It’s a sci-fi and fantasy writing symposium put on by BYU every February.
I attended last year and it was overwhelming. I learned so much and it was insanely inspiring, but I was in a totally different place in my life. It was my first time at a convention like that, so I mostly stayed to the back and didn’t socialize very much. I was also in the middle of Rose at the time and I was losing momentum quick. I hadn’t finished a manuscript, and I thought that all the writers and editors there could see right through me and that they thought I wasn’t good enough to be there.
After that, I took what I learned and I put it all into my writing. I finished my first draft of Powerful, and I even finished my first round of edits by the time LTUE started this year.
But one of the most important things I learned that I put to use this year was not to be afraid simply because I wasn’t published yet. I was at LTUE to learn and to meet other writers. So I made sure to sit towards the front of each panel and to talk to others in the audience and the panelists. I learned to be myself.
So I brought my new R2-D2 backpack and I wore my Star Wars shoes. I got a lot of compliments on them. I advertised for Scribophile when people asked about writing groups. I asked questions during the panels. I thanked panelists for coming and for everything they said. I tweeted about LTUE, and I retweeted what others posted so I could make more connections.
At the book signing, I talked to a lot of the authors I hadn’t heard of before and I collected business cards and handouts. Most of them asked about my own writing and encouraged me to keep going. I stood in line to meet Shannon Hale, and she signed Enna Burning (again) and my copy of The Goose Girl by the Brothers Grimm.
The next day, I got to attend a kaffeklatche (a small group type of one on one) with Shannon Hale. It was awesome. Afterward, I told her who I was and that I was the one who wrote the book review of Enna Burning that she shared on Twitter. If you haven’t read that book review, you can check it out here but it does contain some spoilers.
I have been struggling with depression for years. I had some very abusive friends for a while, and I didn’t think I would ever escape. Enna taught me that I’m more powerful than I realize. Because of her, I was able to escape that horrible situation and move forward in my life.
Shannon Hale remembered me and gave me a huge hug and thanked me for sharing my story with her. It was amazing.
LTUE is amazing. Every aspiring writer should take the opportunity to attend a writing conference at some point. I learned so much over the past few days, and I’m so ready to move forward with Powerful and edit it some more. Not only that, but most of the panels sparked ideas for A Fairy’s Tale and my retellings. I’m so ready to get back to work!