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Stilettos, Stoli and Scribbles is a place where three writers ponder life, its pleasures (including food and drink <g>) and pain and share some recent fictional work – all of which we hope will entertain or make you think or find common experiences here with us. This isn’t a blog ABOUT writing, per se, but occasionally we share with you our progress and the challenges of getting our book series a little farther down the road to publishing.
This weekend we experienced the first online writers’ conference of its kind: WANACon, sponsored by WANA International…two and a half days chock o’ block full of information, resources, war stories and advice about writing, publishing and building a bold and influential author’s platform in the digital age. There was even a “room” reserved for two days where attendees could pitch to literary agents (four high-caliber agents with wide-ranging portfolios covering everything from non-fiction, religious fiction, young/new adult and genre fiction to cookbooks).
The structure and set up of the virtual conference – the sessions, the social gatherings (BYOB of course), the “lobby” chat room and the prominence of the speakers – was an amazing approximation of the actual experience we would have had at a hotel conference site, but with the advantage of saving the expense and hassle of travel. Not to mention being able to participate while wearing jammies and fuzzy slippers, if desired.
There were lots of laughs, countless “Aha!” moments, and like most conferences you go to we came away overwhelmed with information, more fired up than ever and with lots of new friends — some from such far-flung locales as Australia and Saudi Arabia – and mentors with whom we’ll stay in contact and share the ecstasies and the agonies of writing and publishing (and blogging and Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and…).
Most significantly, we found a community of souls who are so generous, innovative and FUNNY, who freely share their knowledge, experience and help with each other, that we have expanded our “chosen family” 10-fold. How can you not feel like family when you’ve shared photos (or video!) of yourselves in pajamas, with bed hair, make-up free – well, except for the guys (just kidding)?
In the coming weeks and months, we hope you’ll start to see signs that we learned something this weekend. Our heartfelt thanks and BIG HUGS to Kristen Lamb, the WANA Mama, and her incredible team and extensive professional network for their herculean effort that produced such a stellar conference. We look forward to more of these!
What about you? Have you had those kinds of transformational experiences at conferences or seminars? What did you like best? Did you form long-term relationships with fellow participants, presenters or moderators? Did you implement the new ideas and techniques you learned? How did they work out for you? Would you consider participating in an online conference?
ETA – Just to let everyone know, Jami Gold and Jay Donovan who kindly stopped by and commented (below) are two CRITICAL WANACon team members without whom the conference would not have succeeded so brilliantly! Thanks, guys!