The air conditioner in my hotel room sounds like a Geiger counter and the internet is, at best, spotty. The humidity is 140% and I’m afraid to look at the heat index for the day, which really is irrelevant because the classrooms at the Alumni Center are going to be freezing. Yeah, it’s great to be in Muncie!
While sitting around a huge wooden table last night with friends I haven’t seen in exactly a year, a pint in front of all of us except Kelly who went for a bottle, I, one who normally doesn’t shut up, found myself at a loss for words for a while. The conversation about writing was flowing and the laughs were coming one after another, but I was caught up in a feeling I rarely experience: Contentment.
I don’t know what it is about the Midwest Writer’s Workshop, but it feels like coming home to a lot of cousins with great personalities and jaw-dropping imaginations. I know Hoosier’s take their hospitality serious, and perhaps that’s part of the charm of this conference. It’s intimate and yet highly energized. (I think those who have been here for more than a year will concur that is in large part a result of our fearless director, Jama Bigger… SHOUT OUT!)
Now, perhaps I am a little bias. MWW was my first writer’s conference and you know what they say: you never forget your first. For those participants who took a chance on a little Midwest Conference, I know you won’t be disappointed, but I would offer a few words of wisdom… mainly because I like to make lists and this post is REALLY short.
- Ask questions, even the ones you think are “silly”. If you’re wondering about it, chances are, someone else is, too.
- Don’t be afraid of a pitch session. Turns out, as I have stated in other posts, agents are just people and a pitch is just a conversation between two people. (Kathleen Ortiz… SHOUT OUT.) Oh, and if you see me hanging out, feel free to practice your pitch on me. Someone did that for me my first year and it made all the difference!
- Bring a sweater or jacket. I’m not kidding about how cold it can get in the classrooms.
- Go to breakout sessions that aren’t in your “genre”. You can learn a lot by looking at things “upside down”. (Kelly Stanley… SHOUT OUT.)
- Take advantage of the social media drop-in sessions… MWW likes to blow up Twitter (#mww12)… one day we will be trending… maybe only in the Indianapolis area, but oh yes, we will be trending.
- Don’t be afraid to say hello to the person next to you. Who knows… maybe next year you’ll be sitting around a huge wooden table with a few really awesome “cousins”. (Joe, Irene, Terri, Kelly, Kelsey… SHOUT OUT.)
That’s all I have time for… breakfast awaits! Regardless of whether you think MWW is the best conference in the world or not, BE PASSIONATE about the time you have around other writers. Without each other, we could never become better than we are!