Sometimes taking a giant step doesn’t have to be astronomical in scale. Often it’s just doing something to set yourself in the right direction.

For me, that was attending a writers workshop with my mother this past weekend. Over the years she has taken many writing classes and through them formed her own circle of writers that share and help edit each other’s works. She, too, has been working on her own manuscript, and we figured it would provide inspiration to us both as well as give us an excuse to spend a day together.

We made the short trek into downtown Cleveland, Ohio on a thundery, hot Saturday morning and took our seats at the 2019 Cleveland Writing Workshop held at the Marriott at Key Center. This was my first ever writing workshop and my first moment taking a story that has been known only to family and those in my personal orbit, and taking steps to give it a place in the real world.

For the next 8 hours I sat happily amongst fellow writers as we learned from agents and editors. I felt nothing but inspiration pour over me as I listened. All of the presenters were engaging, helpful, personable and compassionate. Not only did I feel connected to the writing community for the very first time, I was quickly shown how open and caring it is.

I entered the workshop jumping into the unknown. While there I made contact with an agent, a wonderful agent that I am thrilled to have met. I learned craft from seasoned, published writers, and I gleaned insight into how agents approach a pitched story and their thought processes as they assess. I saw brave writers as they allowed bits of their works be presented to a full audience and be critiqued publicly with grace.

I thank the organizers, presenters and fellow writers, who together as a whole, made the 2019 Cleveland Writers Workshop an enjoyable, enlightening experience. For any aspiring writers who may be reading, perhaps you feel like you are creating in a vacuum as I had, and wish to take that first big step into the great, exciting unknown to get your creation out for the rest of the world to enjoy. If so, I highly recommend one of the Writing Day Workshops to help find your community.

I have left the conference with a sense of direction and feeling that my manuscript has moved up another level in its evolution, adding another log into my fire, making it burn even brighter and stronger. I now have a clear vision of the steps I need to take to move forward to find my way to the right agent and the right publisher for my book.