Laurence O'Bryan, the founder of the Dublin Writers' Conference which is into its third year, featured in the two photos above, repeatedly says that the idea of writers sitting alone in a room with a computer is out-of-date. He insists that writers, bloggers, editors are social creatures and all benefit from interaction, creating a win-win situation for everybody. Internet alone does not suffice.
Personally, I crave the interaction, the exchange of stimulating ideas for improving the craft of writing, marketing and promotion and I enjoy the friendships spawned by such events. It's the casual joke shared over a coffee as much as the exchange of information such as the logistics of social media that stimulates and inspires us. The renewed energy becomes the fuel for action. We suddenly set up the blog or newsletter we have been procrastinating over.
Does one ever reach saturation point with such events I wonder? This was my third Dublin Writers' Conference (DWC). I wasn't disappointed. Each year what's on offer expands and the event is richer for the variety. The conference also reflects back to me how much I have moved forward since the last conference-a happy discovery. For example, on this third occasion, I noticed a greater confidence in myself and in my writing and marketing skills.
The phrases that emerge from speakers' mouths create our mantras for the next year, until the next conference:
"Rejections are the spice of life" (Dr Ken Atchity, pictured on the right in the left-hand-side photo)
"Nobody dies from the embarrassment of rejection" (Wendy H Jones, pictured receiving her award for her book in the photo on the right) and she should know. She was a nurse.
"Writing is a marathon not a sprint" (from a conversation with other writers over lunch where the only paper for jotting down notes I had with me was a napkin, as my conference material was still at the conference venue.
I love the zing created by individuals gathering together from different backgrounds; attendees came from as far away as Africa, South America, Ukraine, US, and the UK., Ireland being the host nation of course.
I also like the way Dublin intrudes on the event, breaking into the seriousness of the day. Below are some photos from Flanagans, a pub, where I had breakfast one morning on the way to the conference hotel.
What was new was a session where a dozen or so writers were prepared to give a 2 minute pitch for their book to Hollywood film director, Dr Ken Atchity. Interesting. Brevity of expression was a challenge to all but essential to having the director's interest piqued. As writers we tend to go into overdrive with words.
Another expanded feature was free 30 minute consultancy sessions with, for example, Bonnie Milani, a book development editor, who helped me with some crucial points on the structure of my next novel) or Tanja from BGS who clarified some BGS and Amazon issues.
One of the first things I did on returning home was change my previous twitter handle to my author name @barbaramwebb. Long overdue. I lost 1000 out of almost 8000 followers but still feel it was the right decision to make.
The photo below was taken during the gala dinner on the Saturday evening, a group of us that hope to keep in touch after the conference. It was taken at the gala dinner where awards were presented.
And so another conference has ended with many memories to enrich the next writing year. The keywords for me are: PURPOSE, PATIENCE, PERSISTENCE - the 3 P's!
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