By Natalie Bright

Western Writers of America held their annual convention in Lubbock. As a first-time attendee and new member, I was surprised to meet such a diverse group. Songwriters, poets, historians, museum archivists, writers of nonfiction and fiction, editors, agents, musicians, and newbies and veteran authors, all sharing a love for the people, history, and wide open spaces of the West.

Below is a list of quotes that resonated with me and will definitely have an impact on my writing:

  1. Don’t judge the 18th century people by 21st century standards. You’ll go crazy. Think about them as they were in their time period. ROD TIMANUS, author of numerous books about the Alamo.
  2. Deadlines are important. It’s not a figment of an editor’s imagination. JOHNNY D. BOGGS, author and editor, WWA’s RoundUp Magazine.
  3. The search within yourself is very important in your writing process. Search within your own soul. WIN BLEVINS, Owen Wister Award Winner.
  4. For years, these women assembled on this panel, have bounced around in a pickup in pockets of the country where at one time nothing seemed to grow but clouds.  They possess a special understanding of the important contributions women have made to ranching in the West. The notion that ranches were settled only by men is just not true. CHRIS ENSS, New York Time Bestselling Author, and moderator, Frontier Ranch Women panel.
  5. If you know enough to write an outline, you can write the story. Just write the story. KIRK ELLIS, Emmy and Spur award winning screenwriter.
  6. A set schedule works best for my writer’s brain. Same thing day-after-day-after day. ANNE HILLERMAN, winner of the Spur and Arizona Book Awards.
  7. Find the motivation of your character. Put yourself in your characters head. Their motivation may change from scene to scene. JOHNNY D. BOGGS
  8. When you collect local stories, care should be taken in what you can use and publish. Everyone has their version. GAIL JENNER, award winning author and cattle rancher.
  9. You’ve got the rest of your life to make the pages you wrote yesterday better. Stay on task and get the damn story done. WIN BLEVINS
  10. People are photogenic and “see” your characters. Don’t waste words on a lot of description. Leave it to the readers. DUSTY RICHARDS, Spur award winning author.

I am truly inspired and remain in awe of this gathering of so many truly gifted people. Next year’s meeting will be in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I can hardly wait!


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