#OWFI14 (Part 2)

I hadn’t noticed it before but the speakers at the conference were referred to as ‘faculty.’ Above anything else, this shows the organizations desire to present an educational showcase for writers, whether it is about craft or marketing. This year’s conference was especially balanced between both.

I attended two sessions by Jerry Simmons, the first on competing with the big publishing houses and the second on marketing. There was a hopefulness about the first session, clear ideas regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the big business model and the intricacies of weaving yourself in between. When you’re a small writer looking to get bigger, this kind of template is encouraging.

I spoke with Christine Taylor-Butler prior to attending her session on making a career as a writer. Her bio indicated she had attended M.I.T. and since I’m from New England, it was nice to reminisce. Plus, she lives in Kansas City currently. Her session addressed the aspects of a writing career that are parallel to any other careers and the idea of remaining professional.

It was David Morrell who sounded the most like your favorite professor in college. Small wonder given the fact that he was a professor in college. He spoke of writing a chase/fight scene that took place in a darkened room and the need of using other sensory input beyond sight. That one example and the internal consideration of it was worth the price of the conference alone.

This, ultimately, is what makes for a good writer’s conference. I am not at an spectacularly major stage of my writing career. I know I have so much more to learn in all aspects of this business. The socializing and camaraderie is vital and necessary. However, to come out of this event with a twinkle in my eye, a buzz in my ears, and a head floating with possibilities, makes it the kind of investment that has already paid rich rewards.

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