Blog Post

Virtual Writing Conference… Yes or No?

Photo by Chris Montgomery

Is this going to become the new trend? What are your thoughts, likes, and dislikes of going to a writer’s conference through a computer?

If you had asked me the beginning of March,
“How long we would be held hostage by Covid-19?”
I would have told you, with full conviction, that it would be over and we would be back to normal by July.
Little did I know then that we would still be in lockdown, going into September.  It seems like this COVID thing keeps going on and on with no end in sight.

There have been many changes to our lifestyles this year, and it does cause me to wonder;
“How many of these changes will become permanent?”

Technology has advanced and, do to COVID restrictions.
Many of us have been forced (some of us kicking and screaming) into 21st-century advancements that our kids used on a regular basis. We’ve been forced to take a crash course, maybe from our kiddos, to work with things that seem easy, and everyday routine, to them.
Then, learn to teach this new knowledge to others. 

One of these “new-fangled devices” I had to learn, was virtual, or video conferencing.
I hated it at first!
I missed my “in your face” support and the ability to gab with everyone after a meeting, or maybe go out together for a sandwich, a goodie, or a coffee. In my mind, it’s definitely not as good as the real thing

But it really ticked me off when it started affecting the writing conferences!
I had signed up for three this year, that I was excited to go to. One I was able to sneak in, just before the mandated shutdown, (Asheville Christian Writer’s Conference – a great conference, btw. It’s my favorite conference; smaller than many but all the goodness of a large one.) the other two were canceled.
This is my life’s blood. don’t mess with me when it comes to my writing, I get mean… lol.
I didn’t want to go to, or use a virtual median for any type of meeting, much less a writers’s conference.
I was in full-scale hatred mode.

I have started to bend, however.
I have to admit that I liked virtual meetings at times. I didn’t have to leave my house, or try to jam one more obligation into my day. 
There were times I found I could “meet” with others by:
running to my room,
close the door,
run a quick brush through my hair,
and switch on Zoom…
I was present, even in my pants weren’t. (shhh… don’t tell)

Then it happened,
I was reminded of the Writing Conference for ACFW. 
I had longed to go to this conference for years, but it was over my paygrade. I could afford the conference itself, but the room and board along with the plain cost had made it impossible.

Guess who’s now signed up for the ACFW conference?
I am so excited! And all because of COVID.
I never thought I would be thankful for a virus before.
I’m not in any way belittling the hardships and death that have come because of the virus, but I am thankful for this one beneficial outcome.
Now, in two weeks, I’ll be going to a conference that I didn’t think I would be able to attend.

Will it be as good as face to face? We’ll see.
Zoom is easy to use.
The lectures and training will be the same material.
We still have one on one coaching with agents and editors and our work can be critiqued.
There are contests and prizes.
I’ll have to wait and see what happens before I form a solid opinion, but I think there will be a place in our new world for this type of conference.
I am so glad I’m going to be able to go this year.
Would I like to go to the real thing?
You bet!
And it’s still on my goal sheet, but either way, I hope virtual meetings continue. What a blessing it would be for shut-ins and those with disabilities, who couldn’t otherwise get to a meeting. And for those who can’t afford the expense of a full conference, but need to learn and improve their writing skills.
I know I would personally go to more conferences. A yearly mix of real and virtual would be nice. 
And just think!
In two weeks at this time, I’ll be on Zoom at the ACFW conference. …hopefully, with my pants on! 
But then again…

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4 thoughts on “Virtual Writing Conference… Yes or No?

  1. I believe a on line writer’s conference would be exciting and helpful.
    After all many writers are active with FB groups and this is a way to take the next step towards actually feeling more connected to our fellow writers.
    I also believe writers always like to try or research something new for research….

    1. I agree. The writer’s community is one of the most open, inviting, and helpful communities out there.
      I have learned so much from many of them.
      Thanks for the comments, Melinda.
      I look forward to your interview on my blog, soon.

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