Chapter One Young Writer’s Conference Blog Tour: Interview with Katelyn Pettit

Hi! Welcome to my installment of the Chapter One Young Writer’s Conference 2017 Blog Tour!

One of the things I get most excited about in my writing endeavors is this magical thing called the Chapter One Young Writer’s Conference (Ch1Con for short), an annual national writing conference organized by and for young writers ages eleven to twenty-three. This year, the conference is going to be held on Saturday, August 5th in downtown Chicago! We’re bringing a fantastic panel of speakers and mentors from all across the publishing/writing field, from New York Times Bestselling author Kody Keplinger (whose debut novel she published as a teen, DUFF, is now a movie!) to literary agent extraordinaire Brent Taylor, and I’m honestly so pumped.

What’s equally incredible, though, is the Ch1Con team I get to work with every year–a group of motivated, kick-butt, and incredibly passionate young writers. Today, I get the absolute honor of interviewing our inimitable transition consultant, Katelyn Pettit!

A Quick Bio: Katelyn knows everything there is to know about non-profits, so she’s leading the initiative over the next couple years to transition Chapter One Events, LLC to an NPO. She recently graduated with honors from Oakland University, where she received her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. She has previously interned at Dzanc Publishing, worked as a freelance editor, and studied Medieval Literature at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and is currently working at the Detroit Zoo where she is heading several creative projects, including writing scripts for a worldwide conference and exhibition that will take place early next year. When she isn’t forgetting to update her blog (*ehem, oops*) she can be found curled up in her bed watching Korean dramas (who knew they were so entertaining?!) or at Target where she spends way too much money.

How did you first get involved with Chapter One Conference? 

Well, I went to high school with Julia (the conference founder) and she invited me to attend multiple times but I was either busy or unsure it was for me. That was a stupid thought to think, come to find out, because everyone who runs the conference is super nice and fun, and I get to spend an entire day with like-minded young writers!!! I first attended Ch1Con in 2016, which is the same year I jumped on board as the non-profit coordinator. I loved every second of my time with Ch1Con and I just knew I wanted to be involved somehow 🙂

How has your experience with Chapter One Conference fit in with your journey as a writer and as a part of the writing community? 

Unlike a lot of the young writers who attend ch1con, I had a significantly smaller amount of peer interaction. Particularly in high school, I had convinced myself that writing was a completely solo, “me, myself, and I” type activity. It was only later in life (when I took my first couple of creative writing classes in college) that I realized this wasn’t true. In fact, having a support system of other writers is incredibly helpful. Ch1Con helped me broaden my mind to this fact even more. Honestly, if I could go back in time and give my baby writer self some advice, I think it would be to reach out in the writing community. Ch1Con is a great way to do this!

What’s your favorite part of the Chapter One Conference experience? 

I feel like for me this is a bit of a hard question to answer because 1) I attended for the first time last year, and 2) I’m on the oldest age range of the spectrum, so I think my take away is pretty dramatically different from some of our younger attendees. That being said, I think my favorite part of last year’s conference (and one of the main reasons I love Ch1Con so much) was seeing all of the potential in the room. When a bunch of young writers are gathered together like that, talking about mutual interests, tips, and struggles, the atmosphere is incredibly exciting. Honestly, you end the day thinking, “okay, how can I best write the book in my head in the next hour?” The amount of inspiration is truly unbelievable.

What’s the next book on your TBR list right now? What was the last great book you read?  

I will be the first person to admit that I am really slow on the uptake when it comes to the newest best reads out there. For example, several months ago I read A Monster Calls for the first time, and it was amazing! I have also been on a large non-fiction kick lately, reading stories of folklore and mythologies from countries around the world. My next TBR are Six of Crows and Truthwitch. So, yeah, again I am a bit late coming to those parties 🙂

What’s your advice to younger writers who are just starting out? 

My best advice to young writers would be not to hold yourself to high or unrealistic standards. How many people are published by the age of twenty? Hardly any! It’s honestly very rare, and it is certainly not what qualifies someone as a good writer. Hell, some of the most popular authors of our time (JRR Martin, JK Rowling) didn’t publish their first books until later in life (my bad if that is an untrue fact, but I’m pretty positive those two are good examples). Write what you love because you love it. You will find much more enjoyment in your craft and what may seem like intimidating tasks become enjoyable challenges when you love what you do.

Thank you so much for letting me interview you, Katelyn! Stay tuned with the rest of this blog tour! 🙂

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