Experiences at The Willamette Writers Conference

“A writers conference can be an empowering and uplifting experience,” according to Scott Myers, a producer, writer, and assistant director. Myers presented at the Willamette Writers Conference this year, and said it was a “special experience.” He explains on his website about his conference experience that he met so many writers and old friends, and his classes were packed.

His takeaway from the Conference weekend is that when you are “surrounded by like-minded people who know what it’s like to create something out of nothing using mere words, who understand the ups and downs of that lonely vigil from FADE IN to FADE OUT, whose bliss is to follow their creative instincts… it’s a special experience being in that environment.”

WW member Eric Burgin was planning on an experience full of pitching agents and editors, but his recent editing experiences brought him back to the drawing board. Before the Conference, Burgin had an seasoned professional read his manuscript, and his Conference plans suddenly changed. He realized he had more work to do before he started pitching agents.

“So when I arrived at the Willamette Writers Conference this year,” Burgin said, “I changed my class load from the ‘find an agent’ lane to the ‘let’s learn how to actually do this’ lane. Classes from the always fantastic Eric Witchey, a new experience in Larry Brooks‘ classes, among others. As always, the conference was sensational.”

We were thrilled to have Eric Witchey back at the Conference this year. Witchey’s and Larry Brooks’ classes were full to the rafters, and they both spoke with our Young Willamette Writers too. After the Conference, Witchey said in an article that the Young Willamette Writers that he worked with at the Conference are “equal parts imagination and sponge.”

The Young Willamette Writers attended on Saturday, and we were blown away by their focus and imagination, and so was Stephanie Rafflelock, the Director of Youth Programming for Willamette Writers.

“If you were lucky enough to come across the Young Willamette Writers at this year’s conference,” Raffelock said, “you likely walked away inspired by their talent, wit and fresh vision.  The writing world is in great shape with this young and curious group, whose imaginations are rich and wild with creativity.  What an honor to tag along as a chaperone.”

Classes, workshops, keynotes and panels spurred our writing brains, made our conference experience memorable, and inspired us. We also loved being in this wonderful community of writers. As Duncan Ellis said on his website: “Being around other writers, being in an atmosphere of acceptance for the odd pursuit, and meeting other writers who are making a living off it, was wonderful: it was validating and transformative.”

We thought so too. Truly, we cannot wait for next year.

Have you read any articles about the Conference, or written your own Conference recap? Comment below so we can follow along too!