by Deren Hansen
First, beyond simply thanking the participants for sharing their work, each and every one should be commended for the courage to do so in such a public place. Even though we rightly teach would-be authors that they must write for readers and not simply to express themselves, it is impossible to write without investing some of your self in the words. Exposing your words to public scrutiny — perhaps even ridicule — means exposing yourself as well. While you may develop a thicker skin over time, releasing a new piece of writing always requires some courage. So, kudos to all.
Second, we should never forget the simple joy of storytelling. Much of the discussion here focuses on commercial writing — that is, writing for money in some way, shape, or form. Add in all the rest of the writing advice floating around the web, particularly from those involved in the publishing industry, and it's easy to believe this is the only form of writing that matters. As nice as it would be to get paid to tell stories, the true mark of a successful story teller is telling a successful story in your chosen medium.
Storytelling is an essential part of what it means to be human. Whether you hit the bestseller lists or simply entertain your grandchildren, mastering the art of storytelling will make your work and your life richer.
Thanks to everyone here who helped enrich April for us.
Deren Hansen is the author of the Dunlith Hill Writers Guides. Learn more at dunlithhill.com.