27 October, 2014

Another worthwhile conference

I'm back in Ipswich again after a weekend down south in (periodically) chilly Victoria, one day it was 30C+ the next it was only 20C. 
The name tag that produced some
 interesting conversations

The weekend was a whirlwind of meeting people, explaining my name badge (you can see it to the right), and learning new things about writing and publishing.

But overall I'm amazed at how much I have learned about both writing and publishing without having the benefit of conferences and face-to-face time with published writers.

Beautiful campsite with plenty of Aussie bush.
A lot of that has to do with being in an internet critique group. They've taught me a lot!

I'm glad I made the effort to go. It wasn't a small effort either, the travel as usual was tiring. 

I'm going to be pondering all I've learnt in the weeks to come, but my early impressions are that the biggest thing I take away is relationships. I talked to a lot of people. Some of whom I found a good deal of common ground. 

For example:
Wonderful, healthy food, including this large bowl of fruit
that was always available. It rescued me when I missed
breakfast on Sunday having slept in.

  • A cross-cultural worker in China (returning on Thursday).
  • A former missionary to Nepal.
  • Women who spent some of their growing up years in Africa and PNG.
  • Ministry wives.
  • People from Toowoomba and Brisbane.
Some of these people I'll be staying in touch with. I'm anticipating that they'll be great resources to know on the ground in Australia.

In some ways I felt out of my depth, not having written and published a whole book, but no one made me feel inferior or like I wasn't quite there as an author. There was a great sense of mutual encouragement.

View of a portion of the lake and the main building that had
gorgeous views with full length windows.
I've decided that writers are great at asking questions. In this year of home assignment we often have to answer people's questions. I did a lot of that over the weekend and the vast majority of questions they asked were good ones, thoughtful ones!

I'm a little disappointed that many "workshops" weren't very workshoppy. We did very little writing, the hour-long presentations were mostly lecture style.

I haven't come away with heaps of ideas for future writing, either. But perhaps that will come as I ponder the plethora of information that I received over the weekend. My suitcase was more than 3kg heavier on the way home, we received lots of notes, free writer's magazines, some free books, and I bought three books too.

I haven't come away with a sudden desire to write a book. The general impression that I got (and that I already knew) was the writing a book is a long and painful process.

Here are the websites of a couple of the authors I met and connected well with:

Penny Reeve, children's author http://www.pennyreeve.com

Laura John, non-fiction writer http://www.laurajohnbooks.com

Overall it was worth attending. I suspect that I've learnt more than I can articulate. It would be great to be able to go again next year, but we'll be back in Japan.

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