Category Archives: Testimonials

Why go to Crossroads? Because Meaghan says so!

Check out Meaghan's blog at MWGerard.com!

Check out Meaghan’s blog at MWGerard.com!

Our friend Meaghan Walsh Gerard is a writer. When we met her, she was working and living the nonprofit life, which is about as lucrative as being a writer. That’s to say not much. And though she didn’t get one of our full scholarships, she did get a partial scholarship, funded largely by our awesome community of writers, because we knew we needed her to join us last year.

What a great decision on our part! When you meet her at this year’s conference, you’ll know exactly why too! She has a ton of fire and a bunch of talent. Best yet, she has that follow-through we adore at Crossroads, which is to say she’s a good influence on a few of us slackers (ahem, Chris).

Here’s an except about what she had to say about her experience, meeting Crossroads organizers and mingling with our all-star lineup of professional writers — and why she thinks you should join us this year. Meaghan, thank you! (To read the whole dang thing and to check out more of her work, go to MWGerard.com.)

The act of writing is solitary but I never knew writing could be so friendly. There is no competitive jealousy at Crossroads. Everyone I met and talked to wanted to better their own process and was genuinely interested in each other’s projects. And for the first time ever, I won NaNoWriMo that November. …If you like writing, GO… …It’s a celebration of the written word. It’s the annual reminder for those of us who need the encouragement to keep writing during those subway commutes and while the dinner is cooking. It’s Thanksgiving, that once a year reunion, we gather around the table, tell stories, eat* too much, and promise to keep in touch (which we do!).

Amber J. Gardner

Amber J. Gardner: How I Got to Crossroads

Amber J. GardnerI decided to become a novelist shortly after my mom passed away in 2006 from cancer. My father had died (also cancer) when I was a year old, so I found myself without any immediate family and completely on my own by the age of 20. The latter was probably a good thing, the former not so much.

It was the first time I decided to take writing seriously, but didn’t actually make any progress till I finally completed the first draft of a novel in 2008 thanks to Chris Baty and NaNoWriMo.

Still, I wasn’t writing as much as I should’ve been due to perfectionism, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, etc.

Once I failed to graduate college, I was miserable. I hadn’t achieved any goals and I was still living in Puerto Rico, which is where I’ve lived since I was five-years-old and desperately wanted to leave since I was 13.

So after a Quarter-Life crisis, I decided I had enough. I was going to take my goals seriously. Moving to the U.S. was one of them, so after family on my father’s side found and contacted me (thank you Facebook!), I moved in with my aunt and uncle in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Meanwhile, I’d become an avid fan of Chuck Wendig and his blog Terribleminds.com for at least a year now. He was one of my writing idols because he was doing it. He was writing full time and doing it HIS way. I loved that. Thanks to his blog and his books, I was writing more than ever before. So when I heard he was speaking at the Crossroads Writers Conference in Macon, just two hours away, I had to be there.

But I had no money and no job.

Luckily, Chuck was giving away several tickets randomly to whoever entered that week’s Flash Fiction Challenge on his blog and I managed to win one.

But I didn’t have a ride.

So I started emailing and searching online, looking for someone I could hitch a ride with. I remembered NaNoWriMo.org and the fact Chris Baty was keynote speaker at the conference. I logged on, hit the Atlanta region forum and long story short, secured a ride to the conference and made a new friend all at the same time.

God must have been smiling at me or maybe this was a sign from the Universe that writing was my calling, because it was like winning the writers conference jackpot.

Despite my ticket being the basic one-day package, I got invited to the NaNoWriMo meet-up with Chris Baty on Sunday and my friend let me stay in her hotel room for the night (she had gotten the Deluxe Package). I also got to go to the Saturday night reception after the conference. I was able to get over my nerves and have real conversations with full-time published authors and other great people, people doing what I’ve always wanted to do: Chuck Wendig, Adam Mansbach, Robert Venditti, Delilah S Dawson, and many others.

I had a blast and I’m so glad it all worked out in the end, despite not having any money. I kind of wish I had taken more photos to remember it all.

And now it’s over and I’m sitting at the table writing this.

So there you have it, my story.

With lots of love,

Amber J Gardner.

amberjgardner.wordpress.com

 

As Seen On Twitter   Wordy South

As Seen On Twitter

The luckiest writers conference in the world got even luckier this year with the best lineup of writers and best group of attendees in our brief life. We couldn’t be happier right now. Here are a few of the highlights… as seen on Twitter.

 

 

 

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Beth Ward: Why I Love Crossroads

Here’s what Beth says about her experience with Crossroads:

“I stumbled onto Crossroads last year as a writer completely new to conferences, and quite frankly, very intimidated by the prospect of being in the company of established members of the literary community. Much to my surprise though, all the writers and organizers at Crossroads were not only approachable and helpful, they were humble, welcoming, and an absolute blast to be around. The vibe was relaxed and fun and I knew as soon as I attended the first writer’s panel that these were my kinda people. Most importantly though, I left excited and eager to go home and write, and knowing I’d be back again next year. I can think of no greater way to judge a conference’s success than that.”

What folks say about Crossroads


Why did you choose Crossroads?

“My love for writing, learning and the ability to be around like-minded inspiring people.”

“Always looking for other writers to connect with as well as to expand my writing skills.”

“I love meeting the authors and hearing their advice and encouragement.”

“It’s close by and fun.”

“I attended the first two and enjoyed them and learned from them.”

“The variety of genres and writers available for one-on-one conversations.”

 

What did you get out of Crossroads?

“Getting to meet so many people who shared a passion for writing and creativity. Networking.”

“Meeting a bunch of different people, from all backgrounds. Everyone was so friendly.”

“Hearing things that validate what I do as a beginning writer.”

“Variety of subject matter – you offered something for just about every style of writing.”

“Great info, feedback, insight and words of wisdom from those who have succeeded to those of us who wish to!”

“Listening to the experiences of authors who have been published.”

“I really thought it was a well-balanced conference. I’ve attended many conferences professionally and really was pleased with the quality of the conference.”

What did you like best about Crossroads?

“Seeing amateurs and professionals all mingling. Watching folks make connections that would extend beyond the conference and would not have happened without out.”

“Being able to meet and converse with published authors, and get insight from their experiences (the good and not-so-good)!”

“I liked the small groups–the authors were more interactive.”

“The presenters, interacting with fellow participants.”

“The energy among the attendees – and the excitement of the panelists to share their expertise. I’ve been to other writing conferences where that kind of communication didn’t really happened. This crowd was ready to learn, ready to write, fearless about asking questions and meeting their writing mentors. Kudos to the organizers!”

“The wonderful writers whose sessions we attended.”

“The variety of lectures available… there were so many to choose from!”

“The quality of the guests.”

“The assortment of eclectic and interesting writers.”

“I always enjoy the authors and the information shared. I always feel inspired to write when I leave.”

“The fact that all this beautiful hectic awesomeness was happening in MY city was pretty dang fantastic.”

“The organizers were very accommodating, friendly, and accessible. The panels were lively, interesting, and informative. The panel moderators were excellent: great questions and pleasant personalities. The sessions were excellent.”

“Meeting so many people who love writing!”

“That so many different varieties of authors were represented and the opportunity to meet and talk to the writers in a casual atmosphere.”

 

What folks say (pt 2)

 

I had such a fantastic time, I thought my head would explode. It was so fun talking shop during the sessions and listening to what other writers had to say about All Things Writing. I met some true characters, too, I tell you. All and all, I had a fantastic time. Macon is such a cool place, too.

–  Sarah Domet, a Crossroads guest writer, about her experience:

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