Relevant Updates, Writing, Young Adult Life

How the Ydubs Conference Went

They announced the ‘22 Conference sometime around Christmas, and I knew I wanted to go. I talked with my parents and signed up that February.

Greetings! I hope you’ve been enjoying August! I have.

In fact, At the beginning of the month, God blessed me with the opportunity to go somewhere amazing—the 2022 YDubs Conference! Their first was in 2019, and then the Corona Virus kept them from hosting any later in-person ones, but I can’t remember if they had one virtual conference, and for which year, or two.

They announced the ‘22 Conference sometime around Christmas, and I knew I wanted to go. I talked with my parents and signed up that February.

Really, this is one of those many blessings I don’t deserve but get anyway. Today I’m going to share with you some daily progressions, highlights, and thoughts.

The Speakers

We had six amazing speakers (and a Q&A with another), three of which were published, but all were definitely qualified. The five in order:

Chuck Black, author of nationally popular series such as the Kingdom Series and the Wars of the Realm Trilogy. He was supposed to be there in person, but I guess things didn’t work out, and he spoke virtually. He spoke about worldbuilding.

Juliet Artman, member of the Author Conservatory. She spoke on loving your writing journey (?).

Kellyn Roth, member of the Author Conservatory and author of the Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, among others. She spoke on outlining (?).

Jenna Terese, author of Ignite! She shared thoughts on different aspects of writing, mostly trusting God, through sharing her writing testimony/journey.

Josiah DeGraaf, one of our very own Ydubs Instructors!! He spoke on story structure.

The Author Conservatory hosted a virtual Q&A with Christopher Paolini, author of the internationally bestselling book Eragon! Brett Harris was leading it and we got the chance to see the whole thing!

Charis Rae, member of the Author Conservatory, gave a convicting speech on writing habits.

Mr. Josiah spoke again, this time about fitting writing into your school schedule—or rather, fitting your school schedule around your writing. 😛

Day-to-Day Progressions

Pre-Conference Day. Earlier in the day when my dad and I began toward Tennessee, I had run my second half-marathon ever and he had preached, so we were both tired and got a late start.

Thankfully, the couple that hosted us that night was very generous and waited until around 12:30 am—when we arrived.

Day One. We started sometime during 9 am, I think. We ended up arriving just a few minutes before 3 pm, when the conference was to start (or at least, when sign-up was opened). Most people were there already, because of the short parental meeting, but that was alright.

I met some awesome friends from Ydubs! That was cool. We had a brainstorming session, which went kinda well, then Chuck Black spoke.

I wandered a lot with my dad, going down a stream path, which was fun.

Most of the evening was me wandering around by myself—I enjoyed that, though, and got to know the site a little better.

Day Two.

Ms. Artman and Ms. Roth spoke that day! It was a full day, and I spent a lot of my free time talking and hanging around in “awkward groups,” as we called ourselves.

I purchased some soup that the emcee and Ydubs Instructor Ms. Marita Wilson and others prepared, and had some fun, awkward conversations with friends!

The day concluded with Ceili dancing (an Irish dance Ms. Marita taught), which was better than I thought! I don’t like dancing, but it was alright. Despite me stepping on quite a few heels, I had some fun.

This was probably my favorite day!

Day Three. Mr. Josiah, Ms. Terese, Ms. Rae, and Christopher Paolini (via a Q&A) all spoke that day. *taps temple* I learned some really good stuff from them.

We also had a critique group session, and I got to give and receive thoughtful feedback. That helped a lot to get me out of my WIP’s writer’s block.

Day Four. *shakes head* Alas, all good times come to an end, and this was true of the conference as well. Mr. Josiah gave a wonderfully practical lesson, then we took a group picture, and most people went to eat lunch (that Ms. Marita prepared) in the cafeteria.

The “goodbyes” were a little awkward for me, but eventually, my dad and I were on the road again.


Now, I had a great time and learned indispensable lessons, but you may (or may not *shrugs*) be thinking, “is it worth the hassle of paying, getting there, and all that?” Er, well, I didn’t actually do any of the driving or paying (maybe next year?? Permit and job, here I come), but I believe a conference is invaluable for a serious writer!

Why Attend a Conference?

A couple years ago, my comfort zone was so much smaller. For the past year +, I’ve been trying hard to grow my horizon. Some ways of growth have been socializing more with adults and strangers (not in a creepy way), teaching kids the Gospel throughout the summer, speaking at church, speaking more boldly about my authorship plans, and taking a Speech Class.

Engaging with people in person and public speaking are super helpful skills for authors. Many writers (a whole lot of us are introverts) like to stay in our comfortable corners while we write our wild fantasies, engage on a blog with readers worldwide, and publish our writing whenever we get the chance.

But we can’t hide forever. Sure, the online world is big, but you’ll end up one lonely fellow, because you can’t (or, rather, shouldn’t) have your phone on you every time you step out of your door.

I know writers who are hardcore introverts. However, one of those writers in particular left their comfort corner and met new people for book signing events and other gatherings. This friend says that, though the experiences were extremely mentally draining and stirred up anxiety, they were worth it.

With conferences, you not only meet in person like-minded writer friends who you previously knew only by their online avatar, but you can meet published authors, hear inspiring lectures, and practice social skills.


The Ydubs Conference 2022 was amazing; I would share photos, but I don’t actually have any. 😛 I’m so thankful for the organizers and speakers who put in all that work! I can’t wait for next year.

Writing Advice

Your Own Pace

You are running in a 5K and you look around and see all these other people going faster than you. You feel like you’re going slower than them just because you’re not trying hard enough, so you speed up. That increase near the beginning affects you near the end, and you lose your breath and are forced to slow down or even stop. You end up getting a lower score than you hoped. This is because you didn’t really go at your own pace. The same goes for writing—and life in general.

***

We all go at different writing paces. That’s okay. Don’t overwork yourself.

I’m a pretty busy guy myself, so last month (November), while some people’s writing goals were something-thousand words (mostly because of Nation Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo), mine was only at a 100-200 word average per day. That’s okay. I’ve tried to do 500-something a day, and when I was this busy, it just didn’t work for me. And guess what? I’m still making progress. I’m still reaching those milestones. Maybe it’s slow progress. I don’t care that I’m not the fastest writer in the world. I’m fine with the speed I’m at. I’d love to be faster, and I am getting faster, but I’m not going to beat myself up about not being ‘one of the best’.

Maybe you have all the time in the world. Great, go for it! Write hard and long! Maybe you don’t—maybe you’re super busy. That’s fine. Just do what you can. Do your best!

We all run our own races. It’s impossible to run someone else’s race—that’s not how life works. You go too hard, you burn out.

Here are some suggestions that I do hope will assist and guide you in some way.

#1 Take a break.

Breaks are more important than you may think. If something’s stressing you, there is a good chance that you need a break from it. Try taking a week long break from writing, and see how that feels. Maybe what you need is a whole fresh start. If so, try for one month. One month without writing. If an idea comes into your head, write the basics down somewhere then move on. And pray unceasingly whilst you go about your business.

#2 Rearrange your schedule.

After your break, despite your crazy schedule, hopefully, you have a clearer state of mind! If so, take a look at your schedule. What’s there that’s vital, what’s not? Is there a way you could rearrange things better? I suggest you make another detailed list of things that you do regularly but wouldn’t have put on a list. Some things could include brushing your teeth, lunch, and procrastinating school by scrolling on social media. Estimate how long each takes. Is there something you find yourself doing that is really just a waste of time?

#3 Accountability.

If you’re like me, you get distracted a lot, which is an easy way to not make progress. Consider getting an accountability partner or a few, a friend or relative. If you spend a lot of time online when you shouldn’t be, have your accountability partner schedule messages to be sent to you regularly. Imagine you’re scrolling on Gmail and then pops up. . . “HEY, GET BACK TO WORK, SILLY!!!” Possibly that’ll bring you back to reality. 😆

If you get distracted by daydreaming, request that a sibling or parent ‘yell’ at you to get back to work regularly.

Something a lil’ bit funny: when I do math I easily get distracted with daydreaming (hey, I’m a fantasy writer—what can I say?) and so often when my mom comes by, she says something like, “get back to math,” or just, “Danny.” And I reply with the same exclamation bringing me back to reality, “oh-oh, math! Yeah!” 😛

#4 Increase your writing speed.

This is not something you can just. . . do, hehe. It takes skill and lots of practice. Here are two suggestions for ya:

  1. Write fast and don’t care about quality. This is geared toward people writing first drafts. Most commonly, the way to go about writing first drafts is just to write, write, write. Not edit, just write. Then, when come the other drafts, you may edit all you want. But, hear me now if you’re writing a first draft: don’t even look over what you wrote when you’re writing, just focus on what you’re about to write. I don’t care if a character says, “I ned that sord, sir. Coud have it?” You can edit those. . . later. Just practice writing-writing-writing hard, and you’ll likely get faster at writing-writing-writing hard.
  2. The Most Dangerous Writing App. Yeah, yeah, I have mentioned this several times before, but from my understanding and limited experience, a few short sessions/sprints of this will help you get in the write-fast-don’t-care-about-quality attitude and feel. What I think is convenient and kinda ironic is that I don’t even need to download it as an app, not on this laptop anyway. I just search it up and go.

***

Dear reader and fellow writer, I pray that this post has been of use to you. Just remember this: you are in your own race! Run it to the best ability, not looking left or right, and let the Author of Life guide you. Do not feel bad about not being as fast as others. Just pay attention to what God says and He will not lead you astray.

With God’s help,

Daniel Amador

Blogging Life, Writing Advice

Four Awesome Tools for Young Writers

Throughout my journey of blogging and writing seriously, I’ve found a few tools that have been extremely useful! Here they are, if you’re considering!

  1. The Young Writer’s Workshop. My goodness, without this online program, I don’t know where I’d be. I ‘d probably have given up. It’s so amazing, but I’ll let the actual creators explain it. 😉 Click on the link earlier to find all the information you need. Let me just tell you, from Alaska to New Zealand (west to east, not east to west 😆) , this community has been so helpful. There’s aid in all areas, blogging, characters, graphic design, alpha and beta readers, you name it! I’ll stop ranting—my words don’t give it enough justice. You get the idea. 🙂
  2. Reedsy. I was introduced to Reedsy by a published friend of mine, and I love it! Reedsy is a website focused on the creation, improvement, and publication of books. One section has a book writing format, organized by chapters and parts, and it also provides stats 🤩 which analyze your progress in words, paragraphs, etc. You can also make writing goals, and it tracks how close you are to reaching them! Friends, it’s incredible. And that’s just the book writing part. It also offers reviews to agents, editors, cover designers, etc. And it’s free! I have a free account. For the first weeks Reedsy also offers free and not-free courses to help you! Check it out, please. 😉
  3. Canva. With this online tool you can make all sorts of images and such for all sorts of things. You can make logos, flyers, book covers, posters, and much more. With a free account (which is what I have) you have access to plenty of images. With a paying account, though, you have access to all the images they offer, and other convenient things, I believe. This is what I use to make my blog graphics. 😄
  4. The Most Dangerous Writing App. Now, I’ve only tried it a few times—I’m planning to use it more often—but I can definitely see how it could really help someone get faster at writing! Here, just try it out a few times (no risks, completely free), and you’ll see what I mean.

And there you go! I hope you’ll consider and that they’ll prove useful. Next week I hope to provide you with some good writing advice. Have a good rest of the day!

With God’s help,

Daniel Amador