Mar 2, 2008

Reflections on an ANWA Conference

By Liz Adair

Congratulations and thanks go to the leaders of ANWA for the marvelous conference held yesterday. I think this is my fourth conference, and two other members of my local chapter were able to attend as well. They agreed with me that it was worth the 1500+ mile trip.

The presenters were awesome, the lunch was great, and everything seemed super organized. I got some good marketing tips and discovered goal->conflict->somethingorother->reflect-> anotherthing->finalthing. (I can see Sterling holding the little triangle that Kerry Blair made as she taught the concept, and I finally understand what she was teaching, but I can’t for the life of me remember all the terms.) I’m interested in learning more about it, and what I've learned makes me want to analyze my books and see if I’ve been using that technique effectively.

However, though I’m a little hazy about some writing terms, I’m dead clear about the importance of ANWA. I don’t think all of us will rise to be forces to reckon with in American literature. Very few will. However, collectively, we are an incubator for the gifted ones, the ones who will rise to greatness. I remember my son Clay expressing, in the years he sat on the bench as a high school football player:

I know I’m of value to the team. I may not play many minutes during the game, but I give it my all during practice, and that helps the first string.

Anyone who has just begun to write soon discovers that no one wants to read an unpublished writer’s manuscript. Because of that, many writers labor alone with no one to read and critique their work. But in ANWA there are multiple LDS women willing to do for their sisters what friends, children, spouses will not. We who may not have the gift or luck or chance to be that break-out, nationally acclaimed, New York Times Bestselling author can yet participate in her success by being part of the team that helped her along and believed in her when no one else did.

More importantly, ANWA reaffirms that each voice is important, whether listed in the New York Times, posted on a blog, published by an LDS press, or ensconced between the covers of journal. Strengthened and cheered on by ANWA sisters, we will continue honing our craft and writing. That’s what we do. We’re American Night Writers.


  1. Liz,
    My daughter attended the conference. She was afraid that if she went she would feel out of place because she loves to write, but doesn't think that she would or could ever dare try to publish anything. She said it was absolutely fun, refreshing, inspiring, and uplifting. She called me saying, "I have a talent for writing, therefore I AM a writer!"
    The story behind her attendance was that she and I both love to write (we are closet writers). But I couldn't go, so I told her to go in proxy for me. I'm so glad that she did! Next time I'll fly down and attend with her. She is so pumped to go to her ANWA monthly meetings. I'm jealous, I wish they had a group in Cache Valley where I live.

  2. I so wish I could be there and hope I'll be able to attend the conference next year. Wow, Liz, you are incredible and right! Will you please run for president?

  3. What a lovely reflection of the conference, Liz. I loved seeing you...wished we had more time to visit...The conference was great! I had a friend attend with me. She said it was the first time she attended a funciton of this sort where she could see that all those attending supported and cheered each other on. She attended thinking she would feel inadequate, and left knowing that she is on equal ground and can accomplish her goals. Yeah, ANWA!!!

  4. Yes, Liz, the conference was wonderfully stimulating, accepting, encouraging, and fulfilling. Loved being there. Loved seeing you, and I'm amazed that you got home ready to blob right away. But then, you are always amazing me. G'donya. Thanks for everything.

  5. You're so right, Liz! When I first joined ANWA, I felt so uncomfortable, because I was *sure* that ALL the writers in the group wrote only pure, heavenly, divinely-inspired LDS-themed material, and I just knew that my mundane, worldly medieval fiction could never really "fit" among them. Which meant, of course, that *I* could never really fit. But I have found nothing but love and support in ANWA, along with such a tremendous variety of writing interests and pursuits, both in and without of the LDS market, that I truly see now there *is* a place for each and every very unique one of us. Long live ANWA!

  6. What everybody else already said! (I had surgery yesterday, so I'm late chiming in!)

    Liz, so funny! I don't know the terms either (which is why I had to make the triangle) but I'm so grateful to have learned the principle from Marsha and Janette. I know it will help me so much in the future. (And I'm so sorry I taught it so poorly. I was just so sick that hour I couldn't think, let alone teach. Thank goodness for Sterling and Janette!)

    What what a thrill it was to meet you! You've been my hero since I picked up your first book. To meet you in person and find you so gracious and real well, wow. (I'm such a groupie!)

    A thousand and thirteen heartfelt thanks to everyone who labored so long and hard for this, and a shout out to all who were so kind and simply wonderful to me and Kathy. Kathy was so impressed and I was so, so proud to be part of something so...celestial!

    We go, girls!

    And, Anna, may I just say that I wanted to take you home with me and keep you forever?!


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