Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Writers Conference Aftermath: Accumulation

Last week, from Tuesday evening through Friday evening, I attended the Write To Publish Writers Conference, held on the campus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. This is the second time I’ve been to this particular conference, the previous time in 2004. I would not have been able to attend except for receiving a Cec Murphey scholarship, one of eight members of The Writers View 2 e-mail group to receive one. We stayed in a college dorm, ate at the college cafeteria, and had our meetings in the Billy Graham Center, also part of the college.

On Tuesday evening the scholarship recipients met in the dorm lobby, then ate supper together. One of the eight was due to come in late and we didn’t expect her; another arrived in time but didn’t find us. Some combination of us then ate together most meals together, though also took time to network with other people.

Years ago I read a health book Fit For Life by Harvey Diamond. In it he talked about our bodies going through three phases in the typical diurnal cycle: accumulation, assimilation, and elimination. All three processes are at work simultaneously, but each of the three also has its dominant part of the diurnal cycle, overpowering the other two during that time.

This conference was the assimilation phase for this writer, and I suspect for others as well. For three days the hours were full of editorial panels, keynote addresses, continuing classes, electives, critique groups, fellowship, meetings with editors and agents, impromptu meetings with all parts of the writing business, and commiserating at the difficulty of becoming published by a traditional publisher—at least as far as books are concerned. And each day included a time of worship, for this was a Christian writers conference.

I took the continuing class on sharing Christ with non-Christian audiences. This was somewhat by process of elimination, as I’d taken some of the other continuing classes before. However, since I intend for most of my writing to be for the general market, not the Christian market, I also felt this class would be important to me. The instructor was Rusty Wright, whom I had not met before. An excellent teacher, he suggested several things I hadn’t thought of before. On Friday he covered how to use humor. About half of that day was concerning writing, half speaking. It was all good.

The accumulation phase of this conference is over. I brought back a ton of stuff (an exaggeration; at most 15 pound) which I have to go through, find out what’s good for me, what’s not, and begin implementing it. Meanwhile, I am working up a post-conference to-do list. That’s all part of the assimilation phase.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll blog about the assimilation phase of this particular conference, mentioning what I picked up during the accumulation phase, and maybe even something about what I’m eliminating. Stay tuned.

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