Sunday, January 30, 2011

What I Learned at the Roanoke Regional Writer's Conference, A Brief Review

I didn't get to attend Blissdom with all the cool bloggers.  Obviously.  Because if I had, you'd have heard all about it so much you'd be telling me to shut it by now.  On a brighter note, my mom was sweet enough to pay for my ticket to a local writer's conference, the first one I've ever attended (and hopefully not the last).  It was located at Hollins University, which is where I went for my graduate degree.

Conferences, when organized and full of energizing personalities, can be so rejuvenating. I loved being surrounded by others who thrive on writing, even if I'm too shy to really chat it up with them. I attended sessions on topics like "Editing Your Own Photographs", "Structuring Your (Non-fiction) Storytelling", and "Lead Writing". I got many tips for revising, fighting through writer's block, and making bad stories interesting.  In general I found the presenters to be engaging and informative.  One session stood out in my mind as a favorite, above all the others.  Come on now, you can guess the topic, can't you?

If you guessed a topic focused on blogging, you'd be correct.  I attended a session titled "How Much Shall We Share on Our Blogs?" by Anne Clelland (click HERE to check out her site).  It wasn't just that the session centered on blogs that drew me in.  I was captivated because Anne was a dynamic storyteller who wasn't afraid to let her personality shine through.  She was the type of speaker who drew you in so that 45 minutes later you felt as if you knew her.  Even though you hadn't exchanged a word.

Anne hit upon my personal writing weakness during her talk.  Which is sharing.  Letting people in, showing emotions.  I struggle so much with allowing people to see my vulnerabilities.  My imperfections.  My struggles.  Yet those are the things that make me human and real, and that will help me grow as a writer.  When I write a blog that lets my readers inside, I always question if I really want to hit the publish button.  After all, it's much safer to post a recipe.  A couple of times I've written a post and wimped out.  I haven't posted it.  But a few times I have opened that door and let you in.  And after listening to Anne, I'm going to try to challenge myself more often by letting readers get glimpses into that deeper layer.  Not every day, mind you, because I like posting on a variety of subjects.  But as Anne said, "What's the worst that could happen?".  Not to be all doomsday, but I could think of quite a few things (serial killers could show up at my door, my parents could disown me, I could get my first hateful commenter).  But I'm going to work on it.  Because I want to grow as a writer.  And I want you - my readers - to feel like sometimes, I truly hit a level with my writing that you feel is meaningful and engaging.  So stay tuned!

In the meantime, here is a picture of me with my Mom at the conference:




And if you don't want to wait, here are a few post links where I feel like I let my readers inside my head, just for a brief little spell:

17 comments:

Home In The Hollow said...

YEAH!!!! I for one am happy you attended the conference and learned all that knowledge. After all, I only live down the road, around the corner of the "place", where the bush USED to be!!!...:)JP

cat said...

Actually, your dad sent us both to the conference. Thanks Hank-loveyou!!!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This conference sounds great! I really need to work on my writing. It must have been great to be with other writers.

Jeremi said...

i think it's so awesome you went to a conference with your mom -- and what a super photo of the two of you!! LOVE that : )

and now i'm off to read about your breastfeeding struggles and the twins' birth ....

texwisgirl said...

may the force be with you! :)

littlewondersdays said...

What a nice gift from your mom. It sounds like a great conference.

Sonya Heilmann said...

I am SO GLAD you enjoyed the conference and got a lot out of it! And a thumbs up to your mom for such a great gift!

Chatty Crone said...

You know I think about that a lot too. It will be interesting to see how you do it.
sandie

Texan said...

Always nice to feel we are growing and learning!

Went for a run this morning, after working very hard yesterday. Pushing the arm, its tough, but will continue. If I could just get rid of this nagging cough from the crud it would help a lot! You know how they love to hold on. Only 3 miles this morning but I did it in decent time.

laughwithusblog said...

What fun to get to go to the conference with your mom! I would love to go to one someday!

Our Village is a Little Different said...

I'm so glad you got to go to the workshop! It's funny, I always think I should open up more on my blog. I love blogs like yours. I can totally relate to the struggles and joys of twin babies, and so can lots other people, and it draws us in. There's definitely a line of TMI, but I like blogs where I know the writing is from the heart. Of course, I'm no expert.. but I am your newest follower!

Valerie said...

It sounded like a wonderful conference-I would have loved it too!

I struggle with the idea "letting people in" and exposing myself (yikes!)-but I am going to try to be more honest in my writing-I admire writers who can do that.

First though, I need to brace myself with some chocolate!

Nancy said...

I would love to go to something like that -- especially the blogging part. I think we all deal with how much to share about ourselves online. I'm like you and have at least a dozen draft posts that I didn't feel comfortable publishing. Maybe you can share some more of what you learned at the conference and we can all benefit from your mother's generosity! :)

Sandy said...

I too would love to go to a conference. I would want it to focus on blogging though. As far as sharing too much of yourself, I don't think that is possible. I wonder if I share too much on my blog now...geesh. Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world.

Anne Giles Clelland said...

I'm honored to be mentioned in your blog, Lisa. Thank you very much.

Myya said...

Good for you! I always reread my posts over & over to not be too detailed on where I live. I am kind of paranoid but I guess any one could get any of my info from the computer now a days anyways. Let's just live in our little bubble & hope that all people reading are good safe mamas like us :)

Sharon said...

The picture of you and your mom is priceless! You are both beautiful! I enjoy your blog so much! You do an excellent job of sharing your inner self, I think.