Sunday, April 21, 2013

Last Conference? Maybe Not.

Last week's conference was wonderful. This was our Fifth and Final Conference. Our moderator, Joyce Finn, always says it is so much work to put the whole thing together that she will never do another. She has recruited her husband, Charlie, to help with the planning and logistics. They make a great team. On Saturday morning, Joyce began a discussion about The Sixth and Final Conference to be held in October 2014. She says she needs 18 months to get over the last one.

We had such a variety of topics presented by various members. Included were:

1. Injecting humor in our writing
2. Letting people know who we are (branding)
3. The challenge of flash fiction
4.  PR--what we need to know as a writer
5. Story Crafting
6. Translation--a new market for most of us
7. Perseverance
8. Using Scrivener to write a novel
9. What prose can learn from poetry
10. NaNoWriMo--writing a full novel in one month website now has more than novel writing
11. Creating a sense of place in writing
12. Balancing respect with truth when writing memoir
13. Writing exercises as seen through a child's eyes
14. A computer presentation on Tracking Changes on a document
15. Judging manuscripts for contests.

All of the above given over a two day time frame--two very intense days which were followed by dinner and lots of chatter each evening. The final night brought some toasts to special people, an unexpected song, and quite a few tears shed, not from sorrow but from caring about the ones who did so much for all the conferences.

As I made my way home on flights from Washington, D.C. to Dallas and then Dallas to Kansas City, I had a lot to think about. I renewed friendships with old members, established new relationships with recent members and a few who are about to join our group, and I gained a great deal of knowledge. The presentations were all done in a professional manner, even if a bit of humor was inserted now and then. These women are serious writers and they continue to hone their craft while having a good time, too.

I arrived back in Kansas, the Sunflower state, feeling inspired to write. That alone is reason enough to attend a conference. As I sit at my computer this week, working on some new stories, I'll think of all the women gathered last week. I'll remember the great little tips and bits of advice so many of them had. I'll ponder on some of the stories they told about happenings in their writing lives, and I'll remember the support they gave one another. I'll also know that, should I have a question or need a cupful of that support again, I can go to them via email or a phone call any time.

I've been to big conferences and I did learn and gain something from them, but a small conference like ours last week has so much more to offer. I'll vote for the small ones every time.

A small surprise on tap for tomorrow. Tune in.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy, it was lovely meeting you there! What a perfect picture to go with the post!