More Options, More Moving Parts

This year’s WW Conference is introducing new events, but it’s coming with a learning curve.

Willamette Writers Conference 2015

Willamette Writers Conference 2015

By now, you’ve hopefully had a chance to thumb through the conference brochure, and taken the time to start exploring the new and improved website, to peruse the schedule we’ve put together for the 2015 Conference. We hope you’re as excited as we are about the new offerings we’re trying out for the first time this year, and that you’ll take advantage of the new programming options we worked to implement. We’re hoping these improvements prove popular with our attendees, and “stick” for the future, as we try to pack more into the weekend and provide as immersive an experience as we can for our writers

  • The new evening programming was designed to give attendees a reason to stay after the workshops are done, and to socialize, network with fellow writers while blowing off some steam and having fun (I could have made that into a poem but didn’t. You’re welcome):
  • Beefed up programming on Thursday and Friday nights is open to anyone registered for any day of the conference, and hopefully gives our brethren with less flexible day jobs more of a chance to participate. The Thursday “Conference Prep” and Friday “Night School” classes were chosen to be informative, but also fun: perfect for participating after a long day of work/ learning (and on the heels of the Friday Welcome Reception).
  • Entertainment options beyond the workshops are exploding this year: On Saturday evening alone, we have the Willamette Writers Award Winners Panel, The Timberline Review Launch Party, and the FiLMLaB short film premiere. Willamette Writers celebrates its 50th Anniversary with its Gala event. Down the hall, we’re also premiering some new events, as The Timberline Review hosts its own “flash fiction” workshop, and we hold our first “Write-In”, a low-key opportunity for writers who want to take some time out to, you know, do some writing. Finally, we take a breath and end the evening with a “let your hair down” event- our new “Open Mic Nite.”
  • On Sunday, the new improvements continue: Larry Brooks offers an extended master class, while that morning, we host informational sessions for anyone interested in taking part in the burgeoning “NaNoWriMo” novel-writing phenomenon. In the afternoon, we offer more fun with our Editors’ First-Page “Gong Show,” and wrap up with our Keynote Address and Send-off Social.
  • Along the way, we’re trying out new features, such as inviting some of our faculty to be available for “office hours” after their classes to answer questions and follow-ups. We’re also expanding our consulting options, giving attendees the opportunity to sit with experts in various fields to discuss not just their craft, but also marketing, design and business issues.
  • And to top it all off, we’re doing this all, for the first time, on a software platform we’ve never used before. And, if you’ve ever done something like that, you’ll have a better understanding of what all the screaming is about when you pass nearby the WWC Command Bunker.

Which leads me to this:  With all these new fun options come new headaches, and potential glitches, as we figure out how to administer these in the most effective way. I can guarantee you we will make some mistakes along with way, as we all learn together how to orchestrate all this madness. But we’ve made the decision that it’s worth the risk to bring our attendees an even more memorable and full conference weekend.

We hope you agree, and thank you in advance for your patience as we hit (and fix) those potholes we encounter along with way. In the end, our goal remains the same: to make the Willamette Writers Conference the best conference of its kind, and to provide the best possible experience for our attendees.

That’s our story. What’s yours? We hope you come out to learn and grow with us at this year’s conference, Aug 7-9! Register here.