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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

After the Writers Conference #AWP2015

awp 2015Over 11,000 writers attended AWP 2015 here in Minneapolis. Other writers conferences might bring together less than a hundred.

Whether the conference is huge, medium or micro, being in the presence of other people who are passionate about writing and committed to their craft is exciting, energizing, inspiring and thought-provoking.

It is also fraught with opportunities for your Saboteur to crash the party.

The Good Stuff

I arrived at the Minneapolis Convention Center anticipating greatness despite the fact that I was in the early stages of a nasty cold. Registration was well-organized and I breezed through after a minor wait in line.

awp convention centerAfter learning to distinguish the program number from the location number and discovering that the Mezzanine is sandwiched between Level 1 and Lower Level, I arrived at my first panel on social media more than fashionably late.

I still found a seat, sucked a cough drop, swigged from my water bottle and took notes. I learned a reasonable amount and made a list of 6 or 7 items to attend to as soon as I got back to my office (which I’ve since lost in a pile on my desk).

I was relieved that nothing I heard indicated I was making major social media faux paus. I’ll admit to a smug satisfaction that I’d already done the main thing the panelists emphasized: create your author platform before your first book comes out.

At my next panel, I had a pleasant face-to-face exchange with my agent, after four years of corresponding only via email. As a bonus, I learned more about what a small press can offer that the Big 5 can’t.

stephen wilbersWhen I arrived to volunteer at the Loft’s booth in the book fair, I chatted with Stephen Wilbers, whose lengthy credentials include award-winning author of eight books with two more in process, columnist, writing consultant and Associate Director and Acting Director of the Program in Creative and Professional writing at the University of Minnesota when I was a grad student there.

Stephen was the lead trainer for incoming composition TAs when I started. He showed me how much I could enjoy and find meaning in teaching. Stephen profoundly influenced my teaching style. And so the torch was passed to me.

While I was at the Loft’s booth, a delightful young man told me my book had changed his life and asked if he could hug me. Brent reminded me that we had exchanged tweets and told me he was now in an MFA program. And so the torch is passed again.

I chatted with clients, fellow Loft Teaching Artists, Loft staff and a whole bunch of other writer-types. I attended a couple of good panel discussions. Two outstanding sessions helped me think about sex scenes and violence from different perspectives that will improve my novel.

Best Outcome: I came home Thursday and Friday inspired and eager to put in my Product Time, despite the nasty cold’s energy drain.

But something else followed me home on Friday… Next post: The Beast Beneath the Good Stuff.

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2 Comments on “After the Writers Conference #AWP2015”

  1. Julie M. Evans April 17, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    LOL. So you’re using a fiction technique to keep us reading?



  1. After the Writer’s Conference #AWP2015: The Beast Beneath the Good Stuff | Bane of Your Resistance - April 23, 2015

    […] my last post, I observed that being at a writer’s conference “…in the presence of other people who are […]


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