In last week’s post I mentioned attending the Women in Publishing Summit. This was a virtual conference held March 2-6, 2021 with a culminating finale on March 8 which was International Women’s Day! The conference had a combination of live sessions and prerecorded trainings. The summit was broken into fiction, nonfiction, children’s and general information to allow participants to focus on the area that best fits their project/writing style. I was BLOWN away with the content provided regarding the writing and publishing world. Shout out to host Alexa Bigwarfe and her team: Nancy, Sarah, Raewyn, Lauren, Pam, Casey, Emily…your passion for your work is exceptional.
A covid silver lining is that our society became very comfortable with Zoom. (I had never even heard of Zoom before the shutdown last year). Due to everyone knowing how to use Zoom, we had the opportunity to jump into virtual rooms with published authors and presenters and the chance to network with each other as if we were attending a live event.
This idea of supporting other women should be simple…just support other women. For some reason our society has an ugly competitive lens that seems to get in the way of genuinely being happy and supportive of each other. Why? I don’t earn anything extra by not supporting you and vice versa.
As an educator, I have had this conversation with my teammates over the years. I have been blessed to work with amazing teammates for the past ten years where collaboration is natural. We constantly share materials, documents, worksheets, etc. because none of us win any bonus points by not sharing and the students are the only ones potentially effected.
One quick clarification about supporting each other. Supporting each other is different than just being a cheerleader because often times that isn’t authentic or sustainable. Supporting includes providing honest feedback, a challenging skill that I am personally still working on. Building the rapport and trust with each other is key to allow the support and honest feedback to flow comfortably. No one likes when someone disagrees with them but if we have learned one thing from this year…silence is worse.
The support and encouragement during the summit was incredible. There was a diverse group of women in all different stages of the writing/publishing journey. The constant theme was, “What can I help you with?” and “Don’t give up.” I had published authors donate books to my school, authors offer advice/recommendations, authors set up and create a writing group where we continue to met via Zoom twice a month, and an author invite me to write a guest blog post for her which you can read here (https://gaylemirwinauthor.com/meet-new-childrens-book-author-christina-dankert-plus-free-gift-for-readers-at-the-end-of-this-post/).
Not only did I gain a wealth of knowledge from this summit, but I found my writing tribe. My family and friends are wonderful and beyond supportive, but having other people who can relate to the writing journey is not only beautiful but necessary.
I met so many incredible women during this summit. HUGE shoutouts to: Eddye L., Antoinette M., Pat B., Michelle H., Takea N., Sarah S., Valerie G., Felicia L., Cynthia F., Phillipa W., Stephanie J., Kate S., Kaye L., Leslie A., Lisa B. I am so excited to see the finished products from these incredible women and look forward to purchasing each book. I believe each and every one of their stories has a special place on my bookshelf just waiting to be filled.
Support each other. Love each other. Be honest with each other. Be kind to each other.