Growing up I was plagued with the combination of being shy and a learning disability. In the fourth grade I was elated to finally overcome some of my disability when I learned how to read. This sparked my desire to write, and though it was awful stuff (it was fourth grade after all) I had gained some confidence for the first time in my life.
So I did what most kids my age with confidence did, I entered into tryouts for the talent show, and lip synced “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by the Righteous Brothers (Top Gun was big that year). As you can imagine it was disastrous, I was lip syncing a duet by myself. My confidence was squashed, and I returned to being the shy kid in the back of the class.
It wasn’t until years later and several tragic stories of partial success and awful failure that I finally figured it out. I had an epiphany last year at the Salt Lake Comic Con when I was given the amazing opportunity to man a table for BigWorldNetwork.com. Every time I had put myself out there before I had made it about me, my book, my life, and my ambition. Right there at Comic Con I decided that there was more than enough to go around, everyone can win. I had always encouraged everyone I know to write and get published, but now I wanted to walk the walk.
Since that decision my life has become a string of Fortunate Events. At the first opportunity I volunteered to help with the marketing with my publisher. I had seen the amazing writing first hand, I knew that there was little the authors couldn’t accomplish if they were helped out a little.
On top of that, I was looking for opportunities or groups to help people become better writers and published authors. I approached the Public Library and they let me know that they didn’t have any programs like the ones I was looking for; however, they mentioned an upcoming event at the first of the year, “Living Books.” I let the organizers know of my intention to help people, and I was invited to participate, giving me an invaluable connection with the amazing people at the Salt Lake County Library System.
While on my quest to help people, I ended up asking the Mayor of West Jordan if he knew of any opportunities to help aspiring authors, and he recommended the West Jordan Arts Council to me. After attending one meeting, I was convinced to submit an application, and shortly after was appointed by the West Jordan City Council to the Arts Council for three years.
I reached out to the Salt Lake Comic Con people letting them know of my desire to help others become published authors, and I was invited to speak on three amazing panels. The first panel I was on, a gentleman named Johnny Worthlen recommended that I check out the League of Utah Writers. I looked it over and signed up for the LUW, Oquirrh Chapter, and upon attending my first meeting I found that they had an opening as Vice President. Recognizing that I could do some good, I submitted my name for consideration, and now I am the Vice President of my local chapter of the LUW.
Each organization, filled with such amazing talent and tremendous skill, was trying to accomplish the same things in the same community, but ironically not together. Each group had heard about each other but didn’t know much more than face value, and none of them knew about the powerful resources that each could supply. Simply by looking to help people and by participating with these groups, I managed to form a combined force and create the “Jordan Literary Arts Coalition.”
We finally had the opportunity to see what could be accomplished with everyone working together at the same event for the same goal. The “Spring into Books” event was a mass author event like several before it. Often attracting 150 – 200 people, we hoped for double that number—for me 300 was the magic number to call the event a success. Through our collaborative efforts we managed to attract nearly 1,200 people. We were ill prepared for that number, but regardless it was outstanding.
I would never suggest that I contributed the most to the event, I was just the simple connection to help these groups come together, and it was only possible because I took a chance, and put myself out there. I want to encourage you to take a chance—opportunities are all around you. There is an Art Council, a writer’s guild, a County/City Library near you that is in need of your talents. The world isn’t in short supply of remarkable people, but it is in short supply of remarkable people taking a chance.
I would also love to help you personally. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Buy Jared’s book, Changing Wax, HERE!
Jared Quan’s childhood was split between Phoenix, AZ, and Snowflake, AZ. Jared’s sense of writing and adventure was established with the help of his fourth grade teacher. She introduced him to authors like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. This was combined with the stories of his grandfather as a Seabee with the U.S. Navy during World War II, and the stories of roles the Quan (Guan) family played in the romancing of the three kingdoms in China (184 AD – 280 AD). He possesses a great deal of love for history and war. Jared achieved a milestone with his book Ezekiel’s Gun getting published in 2010, an adventure/spy novel. He has hopes to have several more books published in the future.