Having been to a total of four Willamette Writers Conferences now, I feel I have a little more insight into how this year’s conference played out. Granted, I didn’t have the benefit of being on the conference committee this year, so I didn’t stay at the hotel (which was more of a bummer than you might think); and I had other events going on that weekend and wasn’t able to attend every day, all day long… But I’m going to say it was a win.
From what I’ve heard from other attendees, the energy was even more positive than it’s been in previous years. One volunteer told me that it was as if the other years had given her the tools and skills to develop her writing, while this year showed her how to exploit and use those skills.
What are the reasons why the Willamette Writers Conference 2013 worked so well?
This is due mostly, I think, to John Ellis’ Web Warrior series, which drills the knowledge that the “web was made for writers” into our heads. It’s a brave new world for writers out there. We can’t be introverted and hide in front of our computers anymore, because our computers are now where all the action is. And I know, because it’s so painful for me, too. I don’t want to spend all morning on the web talking with people. I want my tea, my dog, maybe a little research for a new novel thrown in there, and a blinking cursor on a Word document. Not possible now. Repeat after me: Must join Google+…
Danny Manus‘ September newsletter praised the conference not only for its impressive attendees and their fantastic ideas, but also as a way for him to network and get to know others in the industry. This, I think, is the most important aspect of the conference. It’s not just for attendees and what they can get out of the editors, agents, and film producers and managers, but the positive exchange of information for everyone. The literary people love to talk with the film producers about their new projects, and the film people enjoy chatting with agents and editors to find that next big idea. With all of the changes in publishing, this is a crazy important aspect for writers. Even last week’s Willamette Writers member meeting had Johnny Shaw talking about the similarities and differences between writing a script and writing a novel, and how both can be exploited to “make” your novel movie-ready.
Add in the awesomeness that was FiLMLaB, the Welcome Reception on Friday night, all of the fantastic winners of Kay Snow Awards and Kate Herzog Scholarships and the amazing Kelly Williams Brown and her keynote speech at Saturday night’s banquet, and the conference committee definitely brewed up an amazing event. Get it? Brewed? Because of the theme, right? Tee hee…
So how was your Willamette Writers Conference 2013? A win or a bust for you?