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I went to my first Storymaker conference in 2011, hardly knowing a soul. I drove in from Arizona and arrived feeling like a wannabe (it’s still called that, right?). I wanted to be a great writer. I wanted to be the kind of person who felt comfortable in large groups of strangers. I wanted to belong.

I’m the kind of person who does better with a task, so I volunteered to be on the committee the next year, and was thrilled when I got an email assigning me to run the Thursday Publication Primer/Bootcamp. After my first year of volunteering, I had the chair at the time ask me how I felt about running the conference someday. I told her: Oh, I don’t have the personality for that. And then I kind of scurried off before she could ask me any follow-up questions. Little did I know, right?

But the thing about time and new opportunities, is that they usually lead to growth. Over the years I’ve faced my books getting rejected, having and then not having an agent, getting *so* close to meeting my goals (but not quite close enough). My family has faced illness, death, and heartbreak, mingled with birth and joy and hope. And through it all—my trials and triumphs, the Storymaker community has been there for me.

There’s a reason we call the Storymaker Conference a family reunion. We are there for each other. We understand each other. We know that life is messy and writing is messy, but that life and writing can also be amazing. And maybe we’re all wannabes in one way or another.

As we go forward this year into our 2019 conference, I am honored to have even a small part in helping and encouraging you to create more hope and beauty for a world starving for hope and beauty. Our writing has the power to change lives, as this conference and community have already changed mine. Kaylee Baldwin

2019 Storymakers Conference Chair

Who we are: Our conference is sponsored by the Storymakers Author Guild. The guild consists of authors across all publishing platforms that are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that have met a list of publishing benchmarks and are committed to the values of our faith, but please know the conference is open to everyone.

For more information about the Storymakers Author Guild, visit the guild website by clicking on the following link: Storymakers Author Guild. You can also learn about the Whitney Awards, our awards program recognizing excellence among our authors by clicking here: The Whitney Awards.