The women at my writer's conference were all friends online before I ever met any of them in person. Our critique group, writersandcritters, was in existence for some time before we had our very first conference. We connected several times a week if not daily for a long time with our submissions and critiques.
It didn't take long to get to know who wrote what genre, who gave super critiques and who could accept a fair and honest critique. If they could not take what the critiquers had to say, then they soon dropped out. But those who stayed formed a fine circle of friends.
The very first conference was a bit scary when thinking of actually meeting one another in person but also very exciting. Finally, many of the women in this international women's group of writers would be able to meet face to face. I looked forward to it for weeks. Finally, the day came when I would fly to Washington, D.C. from Kansas City with a connecting flight in Chicago. Others were to travel from many US states, Ireland, Shanghai and a few other foreign countries. I ended up stranded in Chicago for 2 full days, missing the conference. Not sure when I have been so disappointed. I even wrote a nonfiction story about it.
This is the fourth of five conferences, and I've managed to make all but that first one. To put your arms around a cyber friend and feel her warmth and see a face already familiar online is a terrific experience.
Today's presentations by writers for writers was outstanding. A variety of topics captured our attention and inspired us to want to write as soon as possible. We heard from a professional publicist who wrote a historical fiction novel soon to be published. We learned about a new computer program for novelists, listened to one of our newer members who showed us how and why of adding humor to our stories. Another showed the benefits of perseverance in writing. Branding ourselves as writers was a much-liked topic that hit the third year in a row, each time being somewhat different.
Tomorrow, there will be more to come. We'll hear from more members plus an editor. We'll stuff ourselves with more of Miss Nita's cooking. We'll seal the bonds of friendship that began online, and we'll be ready to write as soon as we return home.
I have many wonderful people in my life, and these 'online' friends rank high on my list. I am most thankful for having met them and definitely include them as a big part of my life.