First, the truth. I’m still processing my experience at Midwest Writers Workshop, so I’m not sure how coherent this entry will be. But I can tell you one thing that I know for sure.
It. Was. Awesome.
I know. Awesome is a way overused word. Thesaurus.com recommends some of the following words instead: astonishing, beautiful, breathtaking, impressive, magnificent, overwhelming, stunning, wonderful, mind-blowing, amazing, fantastic…all of which would also apply.
I’m not going to lie. I got a little nervous spending the money. I work in social services…not exactly a goldmine there. But it was important to me to enter the world of conferences and to see a side of writing away from my little writing group and the crazy Twitter community. And it was awesome. Yes. Awesome. In many different ways.
I’ll probably try and talk about different things throughout the course of the next couple of weeks. The sessions, the experts, the things I learned. But today, I want to start with something that made every other part of the conference that much better.
I am a fan of writers, and the writing community in general. Over the past years they have helped me to become an even better writer, to push myself to try things I had never before considered, and to keep going even when giving up seemed like an easier option. Most of these amazing writers, however, were from Twitter, and were scattered all around the world. So going to a conference with hundreds of fellow writers I figured would be either totally awesome or really really horrible.
You can probably guess which one it was.
I had my friends and family a little worried when I planned to make the 8-10 hour drive with a friend I had never met in real life, and stay in a hotel with her and another imaginary friend. They didn’t need to worry at all. There wasn’t a single moment of awkwardness between Jamie and me from the moment she picked me up until the moment we were saying goodbye. She knows me almost better than some people I see every day, and understands me in ways they can’t. Writing becomes so much a part of who you are, and we writers recognized the genius bordering on crazy of our own kind. In the same way, Kathy melded into our group seamlessly, and over the days of the conference, more than once people joined us and said they chose our table simply because it looked like we were having the most fun.
There was a wide variety of people at MWW. Older and younger, men and women. Writers of children’s literature to adult, fantasy to non-fiction. I heard people read words that were beautiful, heartbreaking, hilarious, and wise. There was so much talent, I’m a little surprised the Alumni Center at Ball State didn’t burst. One thing everyone had in common was their love of writing. It was clear in how they talked about what they did, and the way they encouraged others.
If I had to go back and do nothing but talk to the other people, learn their stories, invest in their lives, I would do it in a moment. The people are the heartbeat of any conference. And the MWW attendees are a cut above the rest.
Coming up next…I don’t know for sure. But something! Stay tuned…