‘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!
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Support is everything. Even if you find a forum just about how much you like fluffy clouds that look like bunnies. It’s IMPORTANT to find others who like fluffy clouds that look like bunnies. Who wouldn’t love those, anyway? (Though they sure are hard to spot on this wintergrey sky.)
I totally agree, WanaCon is amazing. There’s so much to learn and I feel like every session is an enormous step in the right direction. Sometimes I feel compelled to write it all down, but if I did so it would fill up CABINETS with folders and I’d never be able to remember the specefics. I believe in taking in as much as possible and processing it through my next works in progress and just trying to incorporate it all as a part of my being.
Did that make sense?
Anyway, whistling frogs, not cool.
Lol, I have a frog phobia, so I jumped a bit in my seat when I saw the frog! xD
Ahhh sorry Gry!! Lol thanks for continuing reading after I made you hop! Won’t happen again 🙂 You make complete sense – I do make some notes, but mostly enjoy the interaction and letting the info wash over & through me and become part of me – I definitely come out of each session feeling like I’ve progressed further in the right direction! Finding people who love what you love is paramount – have to go and find that fluffy cloud bunny forum, or we should start one!
Which class did you enjoy most this year/got the most new information out of?
I think it has to be the PDMI ones! I hadn’t really considered going small press over self-publishing, but I’ve definitely been convinced to submit and see what happens! Going to wait for April submissions though, so I can get a round of editing in first 🙂 How about you?
PDMI was definitely interesting, but I won’t have anything ready for them at that time. I do have a manuscript from november that I haven’t started editing yet, but I’m starting a new project and like to finish that first. I just edited another book and just don’t feel up for the editing right now xD
Though I may do some crossing over of both, just to get started. I mean, it is a great opportunity …
I’ve only watched five, I’m still going through recordings 🙂 I had to leave early friday because it was midnight in Denmark and I needed strength for the party on saturday which was the reason why I wasn’t at the conference on saturday.
Ah good luck with your MS and your new project!! I still have some recordings to watch, I had to leave early on Sat! I am *so jealous* you won the grand prize!!! Congratulations 😀
I did?! O.O
You did!!!!! http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/balancing-writing-life-the-world-rewards-finishers-not-perfection/#comment-94782
Omg I just ran a victory run throughout the house!!
Aw *high-five* Gry! Awesome it’s you 🙂 and awesome I got to break the news!!!
*Goes for high five and almost misses from excitement* Thanks! 😀 I promise to make the best of it in order to be worthy of winning!
I didn’t know you were a Kiwi, darling! If I ever manage to make it that far around the world I shall have to drop in.
Community is so vital for a writer’s sanity. It’s so easy to get discouraged. Gaining an audience is so difficult – and we’re not musicians, who can go play at a pub and get instant gratification. Our art/product requires commitment and time and your full attention – something not easily acquired.
Ooooh definitely drop by! I’d get out the good china and everything 😀 I’m really British – but hoping to hear about Kiwi residency any week now, fingers crossed! Agree community is so important – I didn’t realise until I started to live my dream of writing loftily in an attic room… and got kind of lonely up there!
Another wonderful conference. I find now that I attend to learn, interact, and renew my creative batteries. I like your website…well done, but not surprising considering the support team you had.
Thanks & agreed 🙂 absolutely feeling fully charged up and ready to charge forward now!
I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one at WANACon also struggling to fit “life” in with a wonderful conference! I swear, the idea is wonderful but at the time, my husband had to drag my daughter out of the house because it was like some kind of alarm went off and my daughter knew I was trying to find a few minutes of quiet. *smiles*
I wanted to say that I really like your website (was probably my favorite from the ones I viewed in the class) and was curious if you did the illustrations yourself?
It was great to meet you, Sara!
Awesome to meet you too 🙂 Lol good on your husband! The weather here sounds like your daughter – it just *knew* I needed internet, quiet & concentration and threw thunder storms at me accordingly lol… Ah thanks so much! And no, I wish! I’m not capably of more than a doodle – illustrations & logo are by my friend Nicola Whetstone at NKW-Illustration – she’s an architect but hopefully with an illustration business & website pending! She’s also designing my book cover once she’s beta read the thing lol – lucky to have her doesn’t cover it!
Hi, Sara! I’m so glad you managed to squeeze WANACon into your family- and frog-filled weekend! I’m still watching recordings and absorbing all the amazing and informative content.
You are so right about finding great connections with like-minded people through WANA. The support is wonderful!
I still have some recordings to watch too! It just makes me so *happy* – it’s so lifting to know there are lots of people going through the same thing you are.. and amazing that others who’ve ‘been there done that’ turn up to be so helpful! An especial thank you for handing me back my teddies on Twitter lol
I’m glad you were able to squeeze WANACon into your schedule. Putting it together takes up WAY too much of my time, but I keep doing it because of the fantastic people I get to meet among the presenters, moderators, and attendees. 🙂
Ah Jami I can’t even imagine how much time & effort it must take behind the scenes! Thank you so so much for doing so much to make it happen so we can all enjoy it!! Next time, I’ll try and be in a good internet place so I can take on some moderating 🙂
It sounds like you had the best of both worlds though! WANACon time and family time. 🙂
Too true 🙂 I’m super lucky! And my dad and bf very patient lol…
Wow Sara, congrats on your WanaCon and finding balance to do it. I haven’t figure that out yet 😉 Awesome to see all the comments. I can’t wait to read your book. And so happy to have met you through through Wana Tribe 🙂
Ah thanks Tam! Lol I’m a bit all over the place but things are falling into place I think – more excited about the book than ever! Right back at you! Knew WANA was a winner when I met you there 😀
This sounds awesome. I want to be more plugged in… I could definitely use some help from writers who are further along in the process than me (which is basically everyone, ha).
lol defo plug in.. though you say that but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion you’re going to be super famous! If your books are anything like your blog, I think you’ll go supernova!
WANACon was so fantastic! Also, I found your site because of the Website presentation by Gabriela Pereira and and Julie Duffy and I wanted to say–it’s gorgeous! I’m totally blown away bit it. 🙂
Ah thanks so much! I’m so happy Laird built my website – she’s a wizard 😀 Thanks for stopping by! WANACon was just epic, I can’t wait for the next one already!
I’m with Aussa. I’d love to be more connected. I feel like I have so much to learn and I have no idea where to start!
Your blog is lovely by the way! Very aesthetically pleasing. 🙂
Ah thanks Deanna 🙂 awesome you came by! I was so overwhelmed when I entered the game, had no idea who to listen to and how to navigate the sea of advice & social media without drowning! Going down the WANA rabbit-hole was the best place to start, and where I began to get my bearings 🙂 I’ve learnt so much just from following Kristen Lamb’s blog – never mind the whole host of others I’ve been drawn to from that starting point!
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