Post by Cole Smith
I’m home, still glowing from the annual West Virginia Writer’s Conference. It’s always so good to see other mountain-state scribes, and to spend time in a space that’s devoted to creativity and craft. When I come back home, I want to carefully record all the special moments from the weekend. For me, these are the best take-aways from a great conference:
Many years ago, I went to a poetry reading. As the poet recited his work, my brain started coughing up ideas. I stealthily wrote a few down, worrying that the poet would think I was plaigiarizing.
Since then, I’ve heard several creatives talk about how great work inspires them, how it gets their own ideas flowing. It’s almost like a creative elevation takes place. The synergy buzzes from person to person.
It’s like that at a fantastic conference. In fact, it’s a little spooky. Surround yourself with a group of like-minded people and see what happens! Just be sure to have your note-taking app or pen and paper ready to jot those ideas down.
I’m not the most tech-savvy writer out there. I like pen and a spiral notebook for outlining. For my last novel, I used a length of blank wrapping paper taped to my office wall. Low-tech, over here!
So when someone lets me in on a time-saving, simplifying short-cut that doesn’t require a ton of training, I’m listening. Tips like social media management strategies, marketing advice, and how to organize ideas are as valuable as rubies for me.
Also, I went to this year’s conference stumped with a POV problem. Wouldn’t you know? Different POVs came up in one workshop, and I got just the direction I needed to sort out my issue. That kind of organic solution can be better than a bunch of opinionated replies in an online message forum.
Each year, I always meet new, interesting people. I’ve set an intention to try and maintain that synergistic momentum through the summer months. I friend, follow, and email when I return home—soon enough that people will actually remember me! Then, because I’m such an introverted nerd, I set reminders each week to stay in touch with friends, both new and old. This one habit has made such a huge difference in both my social and creative lives!
A writer’s conference can start your summer off on an inspiring note. If you get an opportunity, GO! Take lots of notes, and see what you can immediately incorporate into your writing routine. You won’t be sorry.
What’s your favorite conference? What valuable take-aways came with your experience?
Cole Smith is a writer, teacher, and mountain biker in West Virginia. She enjoys good coffee and great stories. She shares inspiration, encouragement, and tips for creative overwhelm at www.colesmithwrites.com.