*Takes break from fighting with Princess Faith*
HELLO MY NERDMIGAS!!! (If that Spanish is wrong, I apologize. I only went to the first day of Spanish Class.) So, as I've mentioned here and here, I have been planning quite some time to go to the Jerry B. Jenkins Writing For The Soul, and now this past weekend I've attended it. Let me just say, this conference was an experience I'll never forget.
This conference was vastly different from the AWP Conference I attended the previous year for many reasons, all of which can be boiled down to a couple of categories. Atmosphere, Structure and Content.
One of the things I'll always remember about this conference was the orientation. The minute C. McNair Wilson walked up to that podium and opened his mouth will be forever burned into my mind. Why? Because one of the first things he said was "Raise your hand if this is your first conference."
And you wouldn't even believe how many hands went up.
This set the mood for the rest of the conference.
All the sudden everyone was being honest about what place they were at in their writing. We started feeling safe about braving the conference because we knew we weren't alone. Personally, I felt it was so much easier to approach people, finding people to stick to and be confused with. Before we knew it we were all talking about our writing, our hopes for the future, stories from home, I swore at times I felt like I knew these people my whole life. (Is that weird? Let's forget I said that. Try not to think about it.) I just remember when going to the AWP Conference being so intimidated, scared to even be honest about my age. And, as another gauge to measure how awesome this conference was, let me present to you the following statistic.
Business Cards Given @ AWP: 1
Business Cards Given @ WFTS: 10
That, my friends, is staggering.
The way that the conference was structured gave a great benefit to extroverts and introverts, beginners and professionals, and writers editors and agents alike. The way the schedule went, it started with an optional devotional at 6:45, followed by breakfast at seven. After breakfast, along with each meal, we'd have a lecture given by a keynote speaker. After that, we'd go to a continuing class that lasted both days or we'd go to appointments we'd signed up for with agents editors or mentors. Then lunch with another keynote speaker, only at lunch there was each editor and agent was assigned to a specific table and you could sit with which ever one you wanted. It was a great way to connect agents and editors with authors on a more personal level, getting to know more about the industry without the pressure of having to present a pitch. Then back to classes or appointments. And the day would end with another meal with agents and editors and one last keynote speaker, followed by book signings from whoever spoke that day. And while this took a whole day and a whole lot of energy, I had to admire the organization that let attendees gain more familiarity with other attendees. Kudos, Jerry B. Jenkins.
Writing For The Soul gave a unique opportunity that other conferences, in that they allowed for attendees to sign up for 15 minute appointments with editors and agents in order to pitch their book and possible get a partial or full request (or, in some cases, going straight to the book deals). This, I feel, is a way to make something everyone hopes to do at a conference fifty bazillion times easier. I mean, seriously, why hasn't anyone thought of this before? Not only were we allowed 15 minute appointments with agents, but we were also allowed a 15 minute appointment with a mentor and a 15 minute appointment with former Disney Imagineer C. McNair Wilson to work on our pitch. Along side those added perks we also were discounted half-off for a room rate at five-star/five-diamond resort hotel The Broadmoor.
All-In-All, The Christian Writer's Guild knows how to do a writer's conference.
Stats Of The Week
Song: And Run by He Is We
Book: Hatch! By C. McNair Wilson
Quote: "There are two things that are infinite, the universe and stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe."