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Friday, November 21, 2008

Writers Helping Writers

I returned from Orlando, Florida, a few days ago, and I’m still glowing. The balmy weather and Florida sun warmed me for sure, but more than that, the people at the Florida Writers Association conference added radiance to my demeanor. The Florida Writers Association tagline, “Writers Helping Writers,” sums up the organization’s attitude and aligns with my philosophy.

Here are a few other things I appreciated about the conference:

As with almost any conference, several workshops took place simultaneously, which afforded attendees a wide choice of subjects to study; however, it also meant writers couldn’t be everywhere at once, and they sometimes missed information they would have liked to have received. FWA resolved the situation by offering a table where extra handouts from the workshops were available to all, so even if you missed a seminar, you could get the handout.

The food was actually good. I know serving 300 people at once is a challenge, but the chef and the conference folks picked items that could be prepared in large quantities and still be tasty and nutritious.

The meeting rooms were roomy and comfortable, and restrooms were never more than a few doors away.

The hotel facilities were exceptional and spotless.

Friendliness prevailed.

The speakers may have all had a secondary agenda of promoting their businesses or books, but they spent almost all their time giving information to participants rather than promoting themselves.

For every workshop evaluation attendees turned in, they received a ticket to a drawing. In this way most people remembered to evaluate the workshops, presenters and committee members received a great deal of important feedback, and more than seventy items were given away.

Best of all, the presenters offered a wide selection of subjects for writers of many types.

Conferences are great places to meet publishers and agents, many of whom requested manuscripts from people who pitched their projects. No doubt some sales will result. If you want to further your career, you can do nothing better than attend a conference where publishers, agents, and others will be speaking. You’ll learn more, meet people who can help you and educate you, and you’ll have fun doing it. You may even be able to deduct your expenses. Talk to your accountant about it.

I hope I’ll see you at the next conference…somewhere.

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