Monday, August 28, 2017

Writer's Digest Conference 2017

I was excited to attend this year’s Writer’s Digest Conference (known as #WDC17 on social media).

Loved the genre buttons this year!

The energy in a gathering of writers, readers, and lovers of all things bookish is quite magical. We encourage and inspire each other as only fellow writers can because we understand everything -- the passion, the fears, the effort. And the speakers at the conference sessions are like gurus; they've been there, done that, and are here now to motivate. I was touched by their genuine generosity of spirit (what we would call gentilesse in the medieval code of chivalry). They all truly wanted to help the aspiring writers before them.

The whole conference was a wonderful experience, but there were a few stand-out moments. My absolute favorite line at the conference came from literary agent/ author Paula Munier: 

The best stories are tapestries, all woven together.

The Unicorn Tapestries, the Cloisters

I have to admit, I do love a good outline, but I've been feeling a bit constricted by my need to plan ahead in my writing lately. Author Stephen James taught two excellent sessions that refueled my well and emboldened me to trust my creativity and the story itself. And he threw papers at us. Brilliant! I wish I had done that to my students.

Author Tabitha Lord, who won the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award 2016 with her space opera Horizon, held a fantastic session on indie publishing. She inspired me to really organize my time for the upcoming autumn and back-to-school, including writing along with house/family matters and self-care. I can see how scheduling these things give them weight and helps you honor your life reality and be present in each moment, no matter what aspect of life it is. 

I was so happy to have all three of the above sign their books during the cocktail hour on Saturday and chat with them a bit. 

There were three keynote speakers, but my favorite was Lisa Scottoline. She was so down-to-earth and honest. Writing is hard work. (Oh God, yes.) But I think it’s safe to say that her life story inspired all of us to keep writing, keep persevering. And she had us belly-laughing as well!

Round Table Companies (RTC), the main sponsor, hosted a Vulnerability wall (shown below) and question game played in the lounge, which I’m so glad I joined. I met a group of fabulous writers across several genres, and we all went out to dinner together afterwards! I’m so grateful to have met them and look forward to continuing friendships.

Overall, WDC17 was a successful learning and professional experience for me. And my bonus was a lovely Anniversary dinner with my husband at one of our favorite restaurants, The Palm. (Our marriage is sweet 16!) I'm looking forward to next year's conference.

*Middle three pictures are from Pinterest. First and last pictures are my own.*