I have basically been on a hiatus from all things writing for nearly six months. Dealing with the legalities of handling my mother’s estate long-distance then segued into the excitement/stress of the holiday season. I’ve done a little editing on one work-in-progress but nothing as intensive as the several years prior. However, as I stated in an earlier post, I’m dusting off the old writer and bringing him back up to speed.
The one thing that will get the batteries recharged will be going to the OWFI Conference. This will be my fourth straight year, which pales in comparison to many who were involved for a far longer time. However, this will be important to me more than anything else except for writing itself. Let me tell you why.
I was involved in two critique groups. They were significant and helpful. The participants all respected each other and were prepared on the days we met. The sharing was equal. Despite convincing myself that I could be involved with writers outside my own genre, I felt on many occasions that my approach was not being understood. One argument is that a critique group focuses on craft regardless of genre. While this may be true to some extent, I didn’t feel like I was getting the boost that I needed. Also, critique groups are limited in their scope.
There was a writer’s support group that I started based on discussions with some friends at last year’s OWFI. It sounded like a good idea. Not a critique group where we shared actual work but a sounding board for ideas of both a craft and marketing nature. Unfortunately, it fell upon me to organize meetings with people of differing lifestyles and timetables. Whereas I insisted that there was no true leader, no one else stepped up. The notion of “support” fell apart.
I was associated with a writer’s group for a period of time. Too much politics, back-stabbing, attention to publishing over craft, and often times wound up steering into pure social hour. Plus, if you are on the board of such groups, it is necessary to play diplomat and assuage everyone’s concerns, especially if they are paying members.
Which brings us to OWFI. It is a conglomeration of both writer’s groups from Oklahoma and surrounding states but also allows for members-at-large who are not affiliated with any designated group. Therefore, the conference brings together a wide array of genres and publishing levels. They do not have ‘speakers’ but rather ‘faculty’ making this conference educational in nature. With the exception of niche genres and fringe writing styles, they have offerings for writers of all styles. It is held in an Embassy Suites hotel making it entirely convenient.
I am not seeking a narrow and limited assessment of my work. I do not need the politics of a regional organization. I prefer the camaraderie, information, and morale-boosting of the OWFI conference. If you are in the area, you should attend. If not, find something like it in your own area. Three days will fellow writers who are serious about their work lasts me the entire year.