‘Did you see JK Rowling in the mirror this morning?’ – Daven Anderson
A few months ago, I wrote about why I went to WANACon for the first time. I’m going to talk about why I went again this weekend, despite being faced with the distraction of whistling frogs. It was because I *knew* this digital writers’ conference would live up to its last installment. And it was well worth some creative logistical leaps to make attendance possible.
My Dad’s visiting from the UK and got into town on Friday. We planned a trip to the remote Catlins Coast, a 4 hour trip from my home in Queenstown NZ (& full of cute whistling frogs). Living half a world away, I don’t see my parents very much, so was obviously planning to treasure the trip. But horror of horrors! I realised it would clash with WANACon – such an important conference to attend at this pre-published point in my writing career.
So, I booked somewhere with wifi – The Whistling Frog Holiday Park. And it was awesome. There was a mixture of sunshine and storms (typical NZ), so it wasn’t their fault the wifi was… questionable. Also, you could gain free wifi vouchers if you spent money in the cafe (read bar) – match made in heaven :p I got up at dawn to watch as many sessions as possible – and now I’m catching up on everything I missed, because there are *recordings* and there was a high level of internet interference / teddies thrown out of pram in the wilderness.
Alongside a visit to Teapot World (A garden containing 776 teapots – worth a visit. I’m not kidding), some wonderful waterfalls, a petrified forest by the sea, caves alongside sandy beaches, rare penguin sightings… I got to see some of the most valuable names in the new world of small press, self-publishing, writing, web-building & branding – all imparting their wisdom while I sipped tea in my PJs and shook my fist at the signal strength / weather.
Since the last WANACon, I have had a website built by Laird Sapir & hosted by Jay Donovan, both WANA presenters/professionals; I have won NaNoWriMo and am revising a book for publication; I have met *amazing* bestselling authors, pre-published authors and many authors in between; and I have continued to *learn a lot* from the wonderful resources shared by writers, editors and craft experts who agree with WANA’s main principle – We Are Not Alone.
I’m reminded of this principle every time I connect with someone new, having found their blog through WANA. Every time someone tweets me an encouraging response on Twitter, having read a tweet of mine through #MyWANA. Every time I have a burning question answered, expertly and honestly, by someone who wants to help because they know me through WANA. All the WANA enthusiasts seem to embrace my motto – make the right mark.
So, thank you Kristen Lamb & everyone who presented at WANACon! It was just wonderful. And for my non-writey readers who might be a bit baffled by some of the above – here is a picture of a *really* rare penguin 🙂 Whatever your passion, have you found a forum where you can enjoy support and friendship in its pursuit? I hope so – it’s worth finding!