I absolutely LOVE When Words Collide.
A conference for writers, readers, publishers, editors…anyone passionate about books in some shape, way or form, this year it took me away in a whirlwind of activity. I first heard about WWC two years ago. It is affordable and for me it is also local. Thus my decision to attend the first one was easy to make. My intention, initially, was to learn. To absorb as much information as possible. To be a human sponge! And learn I did. The wealth of sessions to choose from was overwhelming. At that time, I had written my first book, and had no idea how to ‘put it together.’ I learned so much, I went home and spent the entire evening creating my project plan to assemble, promote and sell my book. And that I did. Incredibly, my book is now a concrete thing. I continue to promote and sell one book at a time. Capturing my personal story, this first book is very near and dear to my heart. My goal was to inspire at least one person with my words, and to raise as much $$$ as possible for a great cause. (Learn more here).
Onto the next year, leading up to my second WWC. Perusing the WWC website, and becoming increasingly excited over the developing program, I saw a link for presenters. Since WWC is completely volunteer driven, presenters give up their time to share their knowledge and experience. I had a gut feeling that I should do this. That I should share my project plan (leveraging from my work on big IT systems, I had plans and templates galore) with others. After all, I had learned everything I knew at that point from other people who were more than willing to share with me. Shouldn’t I share back? Suppressing the little voice in my head that said, what do you know?, I convinced myself that the people who organized WWC were smart enough to say, thank you, but no thank you, if my content was too immature or not of interest.
Step forward to my second WWC. I did present. It went very well. Several people came up to me and gave me specific reasons that they found it valuable. Yay!!! I re-connected with some of the people I had met the first time, and made new connections. I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended the banquet, walking up to a table and asking them if I could join. I threw myself out there, and I had a wonderful time. I sucked up a bunch more knowledge, and once again was overwhelmed by the amazing sense of community. I had such an amazing experience, I captured it all here.
Fast forward to today. I am still winding down from my third WWC, which ended last weekend. What can I say? WWC becomes even more wonderful for me each year, if that is possible.
So, what happened this year?
I presented again. My audience was larger. People that attended found me afterwards, thanking me for the practical guidance. I even had a couple of people seek me out, after attending, to buy my book!!! Now that is amazing. I felt really good knowing I gave back.
I attended the banquet, again, sitting with old friends, and making new ones. I learned, from a very wise man, that you need to ‘write to win.’ I participated in the autograph session following the dinner. To my astonishment, I sold a couple more books. I spent most of the time buzzing around like a mad woman buying all the books I wanted and meeting some amazing authors. If I encountered you and seemed wild and crazy, well, I was. It took me over an hour laying in bed later that evening before my mind would stop spinning with insanely positive vibes.
I became a human sponge, again. I cannot thank all of you presenters enough! It is so incredible to me that people with a plethora of knowledge and experience are so willing to share and to encourage others. Somewhere between my second WWC and my third one, I had made the decision to embark on writing my first fiction book. Thus, I attended many sessions directly related to what I am now writing. I walked away with a head packed with new information.
I got feedback on my writing! If you haven’t tried the blue pencil sessions, do it! I received honest, professional, constructive, specific, and helpful input. I also took away encouragement and support. Thank you to those who gave their time to conduct these sessions. My writing path is opening before me, and these sessions gave it a big boost!
I was stopped, many a time, and engaged in amazing discussions. Sometimes by people that I had never met before. One of them even bought my book on the spot, after declaring that he only had enough budget left for two more books. Wow. I will forever remember this. (You know who you are! And you owe me a magic card.)
I socialized! I was delighted to realize, leading up to the weekend, that I knew quite a few people that would be there. I made sure to connect with each of them. I also ran into people that I had met in the writing community, people who recognized me and came up to me! I made new friends, at sessions, at the banquet, and in the merchants corner. I received invitations for meet ups that I had to, very sadly, decline, because I was so booked up! AND, the very last day, exhausted, brain swelling with knowledge, mind over stimulated with excitement, I declared that it was time for happy hour. I let everyone I could think of know, and they all showed up. Some of them brought friends. Others, wondering by, simply joined us. And, guess what? They didn’t all know each other. So now, I was giving back again, creating a bridge for new connections.
It took me a while to come down from the high I felt. The people, the energy, the creativity, the support…I could go on and on. The point is, WWC is absolutely amazing. I can’t wait till next year!!!
A HUMUNGOUS thank you to ALL of the volunteers! You MAKE this HAPPEN!!!
I leave you now with some writers ‘porn’…a slideshow of the slew of books I walked away with (all signed of course…if I buy your book, I hunt you down and get your autograph…although there is one book in there that I may not be able to get signed!)
Find my presentation here.