Musings on writing and the generosity of writers

Spending the past 10 days involved with writers of many forms, the excitement about writing was often palpable in the room. Writers are generous souls, willing to share – their thoughts, their techniques, and what makes them tick.

First, I was front and center to hear noted internationally-recognized, bestselling author Diana Gabaldon as keynote speaker for the Arizona “Buildin’ the Dream” conference for aspiring writers.   Her enthusiasm for the act of writing was easily conveyed to her avid audience. Beyond the stories of how she began her writing career, quite entertaining, was the sense of generosity in sharing. She signed autographs, posed for pictures and spoke at length to individuals. Diana’s newest book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood debuts on June 10 – tomorrow!

Sprinting – a writing technique to move writers quickly along with their projects – was featured by author V.S Nelson in a workshop that was one of the most helpful I have ever experienced.  Thank you, Virginia!

During the Arizona Dreamin’ portion of the conference, 20 authors spent time in close quarters and in large rooms sharing their thoughts about writing, the process they use to write and what motivates them. I asked the authors at the end of the conference what constituted success for them, when they knew they were a success. The answers were revealing. From “paying the mortgage” to connecting with readers, the authors’ faces conveyed their enthusiasm and excitement when reliving their successes.

The Kentucky author contingent included several romance-writing authors with varying genres. Donna McDonald was particularly accessible and willing to talk about the evolution of her writing career. She spoke of her passion for two genres, handed out complementary novels and made her listeners feel respected. Writing for an older market, some of her novels are contemporary romance, like Dating a Cougar.

Her Kentucky compadre, Robyn Peterman was fun and outspoken, talking about her novels, “The Hot Damned Series” of undead, but hip characters. A former Hollywood actress who now writes, Peterman was accessible and entertaining in large or small gatherings.

This past Monday, I was with a group of writers of several forms – from novels to screenplays – at Gangplank in Chandler, Arizona. The Storytellers group meets alternate Monday evenings and has a casual and fun vibe as the participants discussed their projects and the craft of writing. Facilitator Ita Udo-Ema, an animator by profession, had resources to share and made sure everyone was heard. People shared.

Which brings me to my point – writers are a generous lot! Everyone was open and generously shared their ideas, writing suggestions and possible ways to get published or produced.

In my new persona, as Book Writing Success Coach, I look forward to sharing the adventures people are experiencing in their writing and how they can “up their game.”

I’m very proud to be part of the writing community and assisting others to convey their dreams to the page – be it paper or digital.

(Note: Shelley Gillespie has self-published two non-fiction books ( and also is an award-winning journalist who freelances for the Arizona Republic. She currently writes restaurant features and community news. And, she has several novels and screenplays (with husband Roger Gillespie) in the works.

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