Saturday, April 21, 2012, the Florida Writers Association (FWA) held a mini conference in Altamonte Springs. I had never attended an FWA conference, and this one wasn’t expensive, nor terribly far away, so I decided to go.
I was able to attend all five of the workshops I was interested in, because the organizers had the foresight to offer each class at least twice during the day. Many conferences do not do this, and I wish all of them would. Though there was a minor issue with last minute changes to class locations, on the whole, the conference was well organized and well run. Plus, there was a wide variety of classes to choose from. All of the seminars I attended provided me with at least one new insight or bit of information. Four of the five offered a wealth of new learning. Better yet, the information was up to date. The publishing world is rocketing into the digital age and there is little hope that it will be looking back, ever. Writers must keep ahead of trends if they hope to succeed. Conferences like this one help us to just that.
Another great thing about this conference was the multiple opportunities offered for networking. Classes were spaced with fifteen minutes in between so that people could talk and exchange contact information without neglecting more personal concerns. I traded cards with a number of newly met colleagues and look forward to working with them in the future. Add an open forum lunch period midway through and a social hour after and you have a near perfect networking venue.
The keynote speaker, Tim Dorsey, was funny and informative, providing a high point in a day already packed with them. For all that I learned during the classes though, my favorite part was at the very beginning. When I got there, I offered to help at the registration table – and they let me! It was a great way to meet people and feel as if I was contributing a little as well. Thank you Chrissy Jackson, for sharing the wealth.