Monday, March 15, 2010

Wrap-up of the Catholic Writers Conference Online

Short report of the Catholic Writers Conference Online.

First, some general stats:

--394 attendees
--49 presenters giving 20 forum workshops, 46 chats
--12 publishers hearing 66 pitches--54 of which were asked to submit more
--seven totally action-packed days (We took Saturday off)
--$460 in donations
--one person signed up for the live conference; several others have asked about volunteering


Monday morning exemplified the spirit of the conference. Our first four presentations were no-shows, for various reasons, but that was not why this event sticks with me. Rather, it was the way other people in the audience jumped in with "I know something about that topic!"and took the place of the scheduled presenter. We were able to still have informative chats. Even better, the presenters made up their chats later, so people who attended both got extra info from several points of view. Through the whole week, this spirit of giving of time and talent infused both chats and forums.

The crit workshops went very well. People got some expert advice, and in some of the groups, also critiqued each other's work as well.

Poets found kindred spirits in Dr. David Craig's crit workshop, and have asked if there's a way to continue their fellowship. I've set them up a forum in the CWG website, but they may decided to do something else instead or as well.

Lessons Learned:

Pitch sessions didn't go as smoothly as last year, perhaps because we had more people and because of the non-Catholic publishers, which I think confused some folks. Next year, we'll have a checklist people must turn in when they want to register to pitch asking specific questions regarding guidelines, directions, and procedures to ensure they read the material and gave it some thought. Also, I am blogging about the sessions and will post them on the CWCO website for people to read in preparation next year.

Again this year, forum workshops got small attendance. Most people said they didn't have time with the chats. Next year, then, we'll extend the conference, but separate the chats and the workshops:

Friday-Tues: Chats
Monday-Friday: workshops (and pitch sessions)
Note that there is overlap on Mon and Tues. This allows presenters who are doing chats and workshops to do both, and keeps people from forgetting the forums when the chats are done.

Presenters and authors giving pitches had trouble with the chat room software if they used a Mac computer. We are working on a how-to document for next year. (This is a Java issue, so changing chat room providers will not help.)

Thanks to all:

Once again, the CWCO was a success, not only in numbers and education, but in the camaraderie and spirit. More than once, I had someone tell me that they'd never known such a group of writers existed, or that they'd felt alone until they discovered this conference, or that the conference has given them much-needed encouragement. That's our goal in the CWCO, and we're so glad that we succeeded.

However, we know we didn't do it alone: presenters, moderators and attendees made this the fabulous experience it is. Thank you!

Karina Fabian
Ann Lewis

1 comment:

Amanda Borenstadt said...

I loooooved the conference. Still going through my notes and trying to take it all in.

I'm happy it'll be extended next year. That was so sweet that a lot of the forum presenters stuck around after the conference to critique and answer questions.

I had a great time and "met" some super nice people including YOU!