WANACon 2013, Day One of A Writer’s Dream


My own munchies
My own munchies

03-02-13

Love the thrill of writing conferences but not the hassles or expense?  Yearn for reclining seats? Would you attend more of those  shindigs if  you could shun Spanx for pajamas?

Well, thanks to Kristen Lamb and Chad Carver,  I did all that and more on February 22-24 at WANACon 2013.

The first-ever of its kind, WANACon 2013 united writers worldwide by offering the best of both experiences: the “feel” of a traditional conference, complete with a “lobby” (chat-room) so real that I  forgot it was virtual. Thanks to “Tech Surgeon”, Jay Donovan, the WANA International website with its BBB (Big Blue Button) rocked with activity! Also, with Jami Gold’s expert moderation, each presentation flowed seamlessly.

A college English professor who teaches night classes, I look forward to sleeping in on Friday. was different. Up at 6:00 a.m., I jumped into  my sweats, fed and walked my dog, and fixed breakfast. I didn’t want to be tardy to the first class, 7:00 a.m. (Texas time). Settled into my recliner with Cuppa number-two,  I logged onto WANACon.  and let the inspiration happen.

Counting one seminar in Digital Room B, reserved for pitches to agents,  all eight presentations were top-shelf. Among them, I’ll focus on five I found especially  helpful on the first day of this all-out write-a-rama:

First, at 7:00 a.m, Jared Kuritz’s “Publishing 101” enlightened me to the costs of  traditional, self, and independent publishing. In fact, the stats about traditional publishing sent me staggering!

At noon, while mainlining peanut-butter from jar to mouth,  I tuned into Joshua Graham’s  “Indie versus Traditional Publishing” seminar.  He must have been a fly on the wall of my brain, knowing that I have flirted  with going Indie. His notes, entailing the pluses and minuses of indie versus traditional, even included a  third option: ‘hybrid” publishing — a mix of traditional and indie.

At 4:00 p.m, Candace Havens, with her exuberant, can-do attitude, exploded onto my big-screen t.v. Her keynote address, “Dream Big.”  After meeting her at DFW Writers Conference, I remembered her “Fast Draft” and “Revision Hell” presentations as “standing-room only”. With her coaching, I will  gag that  old  “English-teacher-prune” and listen to my subconscious brain, instead.

At 6:00-7:30, agent Helen Zimmerman offered her expertise in  “How To Find an Agent”. With a relaxed and approachable manner, she shared advice about pitching to an agent and composing a query.

Topping off the night, Jenny Hansen presented the Cliff’s Notes version of “LinkedIn: Your Professional Identity”.  A LinkedIn member, already, I noted changes to make in my own profile.

After a brief chat in the lobby, I turned in. Friday had been an all-out write-a-rama, I drifted dreaming of the goodies Saturday would bring.

Sound inviting? For more information about Kristen Lamb, WANA International, and WANACon, follow the links in this blog.  So, writers and readers, what would your  dream conference look like?

Advertisements

A TASTE OF MY OWN MEDICINE


Distance education
Distance education (Photo credit: mcwetboy)

08-22-2012

Adjunct Orientation

“Kim. I’ve submitted your name to the Dean for Distance Learning.”

Strains of “Hallelujah Chorus” streamed from the ceiling and swelled in the hallways.  Sexual harassment be damned, I  hauled off and hugged my Department Chair.

“Thank you! When do I start?”

I’ve waited for this opportunity since a   friend  started teaching online.

“How do you get on?” I asked her, one day.

“Simple. Just put in your name for it. When there’s a spot, someone will call you.”

Imagining myself  learning the trade at my own pace, setting my own virtual office hours, and teaching computer-savvy students, I wasted no time in tossing my name into the hat.

After a five-year lapse,  the opportunity presented itself  with a shiny, red bow.  My colleagues rejoiced.

“You’ll never have to  worry about not having a class.”

“Even when you’re in a  retirement home, you can teach class from your laptop.”

Now, as I sit in the sparsely-populated Distance Learning Orientation, search for the “Any” key, and read and re-read instructions intended for the Geek Squad, I can identify with my students’ frustration with my well-intentioned instructions for “simply” logging on to the school site or www.turnitin.com.

“What’s the matter?” I felt like asking them, in the past.  “You have photos, diagrams…cave-man drawings…right in front of you, so why can’t you upload  your papers by the deadline?”

Now, here I am in their seats.  Now, I understand.

Once, I saw a movie about a doctor who became more empathetic with his patients after becoming a patient, himself. Wearing the same gaping hospital gowns. Being roused from  a sound sleep for tests in the middle of the night.  Choking down hospital food he wouldn’t feed his dog.  Reclaiming his dignity and self- respect only after he walked through  his own front door.

Last night and most of today, after I nearly pulled my hair out and almost forgot my Christian upbringing over the frustration of having to repeat an activity at least ten times, could I relate with what my students must feel.  I expect that trading places with them for  six weeks will refresh my memory and restore my empathy for those young people  on the sunny side  of  my desk.