A little over a year ago, I wandered into the Chapters store in my neighbourhood. I was immediately drawn to the vibrant energy of a woman standing by a table, which displayed a number of books. We exchanged smiles, and she asked if she could tell me about her book. I though ‘ooooh, an author here in the flesh and blood’!! Of course I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about her and her stories. I walked away with one of her works, ‘Safe’, which I could not put down once I started reading it!
When I shared with her that I had started to venture into the writing world, she was quick to provide advice and support. She recommended that I attend When Words Collide, a volunteer driven writing conference. When I looked it up and read all about it, I could not believe that it was actually a very full three days of non stop sessions for the minimal cost of $55! Well known and experienced authors would be speaking on all sorts of juicy topics.
I thought to myself, ‘oh my, I think I need to go to this’! I had no idea what I was really getting into.
I took full advantage of the wealth of information provided by these wise souls. I plunged myself into as many sessions as I could take until my head was brimming full of information. Pieces of data were literally spilling out of me.
It doesn’t stop here!
There was no other way I could have received such amazing information anywhere else for this low cost. There was no other way I could have gotten it directly from the mouths of these wise souls. Every single one of these presenters was there to give back. They were volunteering their time and knowledge for the sake of the written (and spoken) word. They are all so passionate about their art that they just can’t help themselves. They have to help others.
It still doesn’t stop here!
The entire weekend happens because of a whole team of volunteers. Yes! People who absolutely want to make When Words Collide happen year after year. These people work tirelessly to plan, co-ordinate, communicate, and prep, prep, prep so that the whole thing can happen. As an attendee, everything was organized to a tee! If I had any questions at all, any of the volunteers were extremely happy to help me – even though they had a million things to do.
It still doesn’t stop here!
After the conference, I contacted several of the presenters with many different questions. These people are busy. They are deep into their own art. These artists are the most supportive bunch. They love to help other writers. Anytime. No questions asked. It is truly because of this community that I was able to self publish and launch my book, well before the next conference.
Wow. This whole experience left me completely and utterly inspired.
One day, I woke up, grabbed my coffee, and sat down in my office. I came across a call for presenters for the next When Words Collide. Something came over me. It was like I wasn’t really in control. I had this complete wave of inspiration, and decided that I had to give back!!! At this point, I had executed the self publishing process. I had learned so much. I thought of how I had felt when I first attended When Words Collide.
Something in me took over and it was as if I was looking down at myself from outside of my body! The next thing you knew, I was prepping an outline for a presentation. As my finger lingered over the ‘send’ button, my heart pounded, and I realized I was sweating. I was nervous. How could I possibly think that I knew enough to present to others? ‘Wait!’, the voice in my head cried out. What had I learned? That this community was very supportive and was all about giving back. Of course I should submit this! They are smart people. If they look at this and think, ‘oh my, what is this?’, then they will say ‘Thank you, but no thank you’.
I sit here now, with my tea, enjoying the morning birds singing sweetly, and I am reflecting on the presentation that I gave at When Words Collide, just a few days ago. It was truly another supportive experience. I had a decent number of attendees (woo hoo!!!), and the content was well received. Several people came up to me after to declare how helpful it was to them. Yes!!! Now I know I have helped!!
Furthermore, the entire conference has been an absolutely amazing experience once again! I took some more sessions to help me in the phase that I am currently in with my first book. I also attended some sessions that put me out of my comfort zone, and others that were tantalizing and exciting. I woke up this morning absolutely itching to write! This experience has left me once again inspired, motivated, and full to the brim with positive, creative, life giving energy!
I also got to thank, in person, some of the writers that have helped me so much, and reinforce for them what an impact they have had on my path. I picked up some exciting new books (and had them signed, of course). And, I met some really cool new people!!!
I now have an amazing collection of SIGNED copies of some awesome works!!!!!
What an experience!!
Thank you to ALL who help make it happen!
Till next year…
My presenter bio…
My presentation pitch…