Sunday, January 30, 2011

Roanoke Regional Writers Conference

The Fourth Annual Roanoke Regional Writers conference sponsored by Hollins University came off only one glitch that I saw last Friday and Saturday. Sold out, the conference brought together writers and teachers, readers and students in a day-an-a-half immersion in all things writing.

Lake Writers and Valley Writers were well represented. Four from Lake Writers and eleven from Valley Writers (I think it was eleven) listened intently to the speakers. Here, Sally Roseveare (Lake Writers) and Jim Morrison (both) sit in the front row, with Dick Raymond (both), Donna Knox (Valley Writers) and Bob Sandy (Valley Writers) in the back row listen to a session on what we should reveal on our blogs.

First, the glitch. The coffee. Never, ever, ever provide dreadful coffee to a group of bleary-eyed writers. Many had been up much of the night working on their materials. They (and I) were lusting for good, strong coffee to kick-start the gray cells. Instead, the first pot was thin as tea. The second pot was stronger but tasted odd. So, most of us relied on bottled water, which was tasty, to energize our brains without the benefit of a caffeine-induced buzz.

Why do we go to these conferences? First, networking. Getting reconnected with old friends from previous conferences. Meeting new friends, including on Facebook friend who is now a "real" friend. Taking away tidbits to improve our writing, make us look at the world in a slightly different way.

The most productive sessions were on what to look for in a publishing contract, telling lies and writing fiction, and media writing. The attention placed on blogging--how to, when to, what to, why to--sparked more thoughts about this blog. I learned that I'm not supposed to use it to promote a book. Well, that's not a problem. Yet. I'll deal with that when I have a book ready for publication.

Thanks to Dan Smith for his tireless work in pulling this conference together. It is a year-long labor of love. And thanks to Hollins for hosting it again and providing many of its faculty to teach the classes.

Will I go again? You bet. Sign me up for next year!


  1. Good to see everybody again this year. I agree about the coffee. I poured mine into the foundation mulch outside. I think the whole conference should consist of networking during coffee breaks--but with REAL coffee next year. Seriously, I wish there were longer breaks between sessions to get to talk to folks in a more extended way. But that's just me.

  2. I agree, Fred. In order to network and catch up with friends, we have to skip sessions. Perhaps this should start at noon on Friday, rather than at 6 pm. Then, we could network and socialize, move to the opening session, and gear outselves up for the next day. Don't know. It's a problem. But a good one to have.