We are now entering the virtual convention season. PNWA (the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association Conference) kicks off on Thursday the 24th. This will be the first year they’ve been virtual.
I will miss the people I usually see there and hope that next year we can meet in person.
However, while the in-person conference was a lot of fun, this is much gentler on the budget. I don’t have to rent a room for three nights, and I can prepare my own food as I normally do, which is not an easy thing for a vegan on the road.
I’m really looking forward to the awards night, as my good friend, author Johanna Flynn is up for the prestigious Nancy Pearl Award for her book, Hidden Pictures—and that is a big deal.
I was a reader in the short story category, and one of the stories I read is up for an award—this makes me happy. I love it when I come across a brilliant piece of writing, and some of the entries I read this year just shone.
The Nebulas were a virtual conference this last May, and I enjoyed how easy it was to navigate the whole thing. I wouldn’t have attended the Nebulas had it not been virtual, as the total cost for air-fare and rooms and dining would have been prohibitive. It was a real joy to be involved, even if only on a virtual level.
The reason I love conferences is simple. You meet people and make connections, and sometimes you forge friendships. If anything is missing from a virtual conference, it is that little touch of humanity.
However, much can be gained, even in these challenging times. This year, Brit Bennett, New York Times best-selling author of The Vanishing Half and The Mothers, will be giving the keynote speech. I’m looking forward to an inspiring evening.
The master’s classes are included in the basic fee this year since it is a virtual conference. I’ve always enjoyed these classes when I had the extra money, but there were years when I couldn’t afford them. Many people have wanted to attend master’s classes but couldn’t find the extra money, so this year they will have that chance.
I am interested in writing craft seminars (of course). Still, I will be attending workshops on negotiating the rough waters of the business side of writing. Sunday will focus on screenwriting.
PNWA is offering both 20 minute and 1-hour seminars, which allows folks the chance to walk around and stretch their legs. I think a shorter meeting will encourage people to remain at their computers and engaged.
I hope to have a lot of new ideas for posts on craft and the business of writing in general. Some years I come home fired up about specific topics that were covered, in both craft and business. I hope to end this conference with new viewpoints on what sometimes feels like old dogmas.
I love learning. Discovering fresh ideas, seeing new ways of looking at things we take for granted—these are the reasons I attend writers’ conferences.