Friday, October 4, 2013

Thoughts On Attending My State Authors Convention

Our Town, 2013 Kansas Authors Club  Convention
My Weekend Destination

This afternoon, I'm driving to Wichita, Kansas to attend the Kansas Authors Club state convention. Last year, my district hosted the annual event and I had a lot of responsibilities. I was happy to do it, but this year I can be there as only an attendee and enjoy all of it without the weight of hosting sitting on my shoulders. 

The logo above shows the theme selected for this year. Our Town--It's Not On Any Map---True Places Never Are is also the theme for one of the contest categories. I entered five categories in the prose and poetry contests but, try as I might, I couldn't come up with anything for the theme category. It pays the biggest prizes so is well worth being a winner. I'm sure many others did write something for this category. I'm looking forward to hearing the titles when they are announced at the Sunday Luncheon. 

The first few years that I entered the state contest, I didn't win anything. As I honed my writing skills, my contest entries began to place and I've even been fortunate to win 1st several times. I won 1st in the theme category one year for a poem about Kansas. That was really a thrill, particularly so, since I have no formal training in writing poetry. Any poem I write comes from the heart and maybe a bit of instinct. 

I have been a member of Kansas Authors for 15 years but this will only be the 4th convention I've attended. Not because I didn't want to. The date for the meeting is always the first weekend in October and K-State more often than not has a home game at the same time. Going to those games with my husband has been a priority for me, because I think it's important that we do things together and this is one activity we both thoroughly enjoy. So, I put my guy first and my writing convention second every fall. I'm delighted when I can manage to get to the meeting.

Tonight, the first event of the convention is an Awards Ceremony for Youth. Two of our members run a Prose and Poetry contest each year for young writers from 1st through 12th grades. The winners are invited to attend tonight's ceremony with their family. It's a thrill for the young writers and their parents and will leave a lasting impression of the writing world on them. Some of these young writers do a really fine job. I've served as judge a few times and have been so impressed by some of the entries and also totally disheartened by others. 

Later tonight, there will be a Read Around for those who care to participate and just a gab session for others. Tomorrow, workshops will run all day long, 3 at a time. That presents a problem in that I must choose only one for each time slot and looking at the program, I know that will be a hard task. A banquet is on schedule for tomorrow evening with a Keynote Speaker--Marci Penner, author of 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook. Sunday morning, there will be a Devotions time for those who wish to attend, a business meeting and two discussion groups. I will be the Leader of the one that is titled "Past, Present and Future of Kansas Authors Club" Like most groups today, we need new and younger members to keep this 109 year old organization alive and well. We're very much alive but I'm not sure how much longer that will be the case.

Sunday luncheon will conclude the convention. It is after the meal that the contest winners will be announced. We'll all head to our various homes around the state with new goals and ideas for new stories to write. Motivation places high on the list of convention benefits.I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new ones, also to meeting writers I've met online but have not in person.  I'll report on the weekend next Monday, so be sure to check the blog that day.

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