I went to the A Rally of Writers conference over the weekend, not quite knowing what to expect beyond the printed workshop itinerary. The first surprise was the mid-April weather: There were two inches of snow on the ground at LCC West, and if Facebook memes are to be taken seriously, someone put out a contract on Puxatawney Phil. The place was packed with writers from all over Michigan who braved the elements to make it on time. One of the gentlemen at my table had driven all the way down to Lansing from Ludington, which I think takes 3-4 hours. That’s dedication.
The second surprise was the number of familiar faces, people I had seen around town, not knowing their names, much less their interest in writing. (Maybe that’s a sign that I need to get out more.) I even managed to have several conversations with complete strangers in spite of the fact that I’m an introvert. One of my fellow writers suggested that I join the Capital City Writer’s Association, which I did do after the conference. Oh, and it seems that the cat is the preferred pet for writers. Either that, or cat owners just seem to have a way of finding each other.
The presentations were all excellent, and I learned a lot about the writing business from Lev Raphael, Susan Froetschel, Jim Hines and Whitney Spotts. They were all very generous in sharing their insights and firsthand knowledge of writing as well as the publishing industry. The atmosphere was very professional and very convivial. I found the conference to be very encouraging, that pursuing my writing with an eye toward publication is a worthwhile goal and an achievable one at that. I even found myself wishing that I had gotten my introverted self to the post conference gathering at the Claddagh Irish Pub. All in all, the conference organizers did a great job, and I am looking forward to next year’s event.