Guest Post: On the Writing Community

Note: Hey all! Today I've got a guest post from Kira Budge, the Associate Online Administrator for Chapter One Young Writer's Conference, which is a conference I'll be speaking at this summer! *confetti* I hope you enjoy (and enter the super awesome giveaway)! :) 

Hi guys! My name’s Kira Budge and I’m the Associate Online Administrator for the Chapter One Young Writer’s Conference (Ch1Con), a writing conference by young writers, for young writers. Today, as part of the Ch1Con 2015 Blog Tour, I’m doing a guest post on the importance of the writing community. There will be a giveaway too, so read to the end for that!

As an arts community, the writing world has a particularly vibrant sense of human connection. Both in real life and online, writers, readers, and industry professionals communicate about the stories they love and the ideas they’d like to see more of. Through these conversations, we all can have an immense effect on both individuals and on the world as a whole. I think this is one of the greatest rewards we get from our art.

As a widespread community and especially through the Internet, our industry has the chance to enact social change, such as in the We Need Diverse Books campaign. Through the expansion of our art to include more and more voices, we give readers the world over a chance to understand different perspectives. Discussions on important topics like these abound throughout our community and help us all to make a greater difference.

On a more personal level, the writing community helps people through the partnerships that writers establish with each other. With the assistance of other writers of all different experience levels, each of us can learn more about the industry, have guidance through the tough times that inevitably come, and gain useful critiques. One of the greatest tangible benefits for me in participating in the writing community has been the critique partners and beta readers I’ve been able to gain. With their help, I’ve improved the quality of my writing bit by little bit.

Our internet community has a way of connecting over funny topics as well as the more serious. Twitter is one of my favorite locales for this. The recent influx of parody accounts, which present real issues in the industry and common cliches in a way that everyone can enjoy, is one example. Another is the hashtags that pop up regularly in regards to the industry, like the #VeryRealisticYA tag created by Ch1Con partner John Hansen at Ava Jae’s serendipitous encouragement. Because we have similar interests, writers on the Internet enjoy a common understanding of what’s being expressed without even having to meet!

When you do meet, however, incredible things can happen. Almost eight years ago, as a young little munchkin with lots of big dreams (not much has changed there), I joined my first writing community, the Scholastic Write It! Boards online. There I met the girls who would eventually become some of my best friends, offering the critique, guidance, and, most especially, support that I’ve needed to make it as far as I have with both writing and regular life struggles. Five years later, after meeting each other on other social media platforms, the incredibly innovative and go-getting Julia Byers decided it was prime time that we all met in person. This experiment of a private writing conference blossomed into the Chapter One Young Writers Conference that I am proud to be a part of today!

Meeting these girls, and all of the other people who have attended and supported our conference thus far, has been one of the best experiences of my life. Something magical happens when you get together with people who have the same interests, shared dreams, and a similar life experience. Last year, while discussing the ins and outs of the industry, talking about high school and college life during lunch, and analyzing Harry Potter and the Hunger Games on the Chicago L, I loved being me so deeply and sincerely I can hardly express it. Through our conference, I’ve made many new friends, learned a hundred new skills, and found a thousand new ways to explore the wonders of storytelling. I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

This year, Ch1Con will take place on Saturday, August 8th in the suburbs of Chicago, IL, Arlington Heights. 2015 registration is currently open on the Ch1Con website for writers from a middle school to undergraduate level and at an early bird discount price of $39.99. Three speakers have been confirmed so far: headliner Kat Zhang, the bestselling author of the Hybrid Chronicles, Taryn Albright, better known as the Girl with the Green Pen, and our very own wonderful Ava Jae! As a special bonus, Ava Jae’s agent, Louise Fury, will open to queries only from conference attendees for up to thirty days after the event. Awesome, right? I am psyched.

Annnnnd I’d love to meet you there! With how great the writing community is, I’m always looking out for more writer friends like those on the Ch1Con team. So if you fall into our age range, take the chance to register ASAP! The early bird discount ends May 31st and there are only thirty slots open. You can sign up this link with adult registration for those 18+ and youth registration (with parental/guardian consent) for under 18s.

Even if you can’t attend in person, we’d love to meet you through the online platforms where our team originally met! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that online friends aren’t as good as real-life friends, because we’re proof of the opposite. We have Twitter chats and other events available for you guys! For more information, check out our website and social media platforms:

In the end, whatever way works best for you to participate in the writing community, with us, with others, online, in person, I promise you’ll find great benefits to the process and, even more importantly, develop friendships that can run soul-deep. I know because I’ve got some of my own.

Now for the promised giveaway! Here on Ava’s blog, we’re giving away a Trish Doller prize pack, which includes hardcovers of Something Like Normal and Where the Stars Still Shine as well as an ARC of The Devil You Know. Enter using the Rafflecopter below! Thanks, guys.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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