I have been attending the OWFI Writers Conference since 2012 and was honored to be asked to be a speaker for the 2020 edition. For me, it was the culmination of efforts made to present myself not only as a viable writer but someone who could present information in an entertaining fashion. “Needless to say….” “As you all know…” “Well…”
Yeah. That. The Covid situation. Cancellation of conference amid an ever burgeoning pandemic. The health and safety of attendees was foremost on everyone’s mind. To their credit, the Executive Board reached out to the speakers inquiring if they would fulfill the same position in 2021, without even knowing IF a conference would even be held or what form it might take.
There will be a conference. It will be digital. And I could not be happier. Not simply because it was an opportunity I didn’t want to go to waste but that this organization had the resolve to create something that is uniquely human and personal in a new format. Sure, Zoom meetings can not replace the interaction of friends, new and old, the meal sharing, the cocktail party, the Buzz Sessions. The goal, however, is not to replace but to replicate.
Some things will be missing. It is unavoidable. However, the opportunity to commiserate will still be there. Attendees will likely use their Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts to post photos of meetings, commentary, and the same exhilaration found my actual attendance. I don’t see why it would not be successful.
In the past, I have encouraged any writer I encountered to attend a conference. It raises your game up to a whole new level. Naturally, there is the consideration of expense and travel. You might be limited as to availability in your geographic area. Well, now I am encouraging all writers to attend a virtual conference for the benefits still to be had.
Writing is, by nature, a solitary venture. There certainly are critique groups, some personal and others online. At some point, it is necessary to step out, reach out to an agent or editor or publisher. If you are fortunate enough to have your work published, it is necessary further to promote yourself and your literary efforts. Or perhaps you have just started writing and need that boost to move you forward or get on the right path.
Now is the time.
The OWFI Writers Conference will take place virtually April 29, 30, and May 1. Register online here.