3 Reasons Why You Should Go to the Willamette Conference

WFPS’ first “official” group trip to the Willamette Writers Convention was an astounding success!

Every single one of us (there were five in attendance) left with AT LEAST one acceptance from an agent or an editor. It was a comfort to know that all of our hard work paid off. It was my first trip to a writing conference and I have to say that I had a fantastic time despite the heat and some cranky writers.


Our “Willamette Conference Survival Stash of 2014” consisted of energy drinks, energy gel blocks (Shot Blocks), nummy chocolate, Nutella, protein bars, some mints, and other comfort foods.

That being said, now comes the hard part: queries, one-page synopsis, and editing the 50 first pages of our novels. We’ve already gone through and edited these pages but I do want to make sure that I go through it with a fine-toothed comb.


After the convention was over, we celebrated with some beer, pizza, Cracker Jacks, and Pandemic. Our success transcended to the board game as we finally beat the board for the first time. Agents, editors, AND we saved the world? Yep. It was a good weekend.

The whole experience taught me about my preparation practices, how well I can take criticism (I’ve come very far and am surprisingly happy at where I am with that), and about the fact that it takes me approximately 24 hours (and a few good books) to get through rejections.

It has also taught me about the importance of a writers group. We signed up together. We helped prepare each other for the convention. We were there to celebrate our acceptances. We were there for hugs and support when we came back with rejections. We got lost together. We wore silly badges together. We stood in packed rooms with no ventilation, fans, or air conditioning together. If you’re not already a part of a writers group (and you are a writer), I highly recommend that you find yourself a group. It’s an extension of your family.

If you are debating on whether or not you should try to attend the Willamette Writers Convention (or any writers convention for that matter), check out these three reasons why you should say “Sign Me Up!”


1. It’s a Good Time.

I have to admit that despite any disappointments that we may have had over some rejections, we had a good time. It was stressful and chaotic but in the end it was more productive and informative. We got to sample some fantastic food at the local restaurants (when we didn’t feel like vomiting from anxiety), and we met some wonderful people. We supported each other. We grew closer as a group.

2. The Successes Will (Eventually) Outweigh the Disappointments

I have to admit that at the end of the last day, I was pretty tired. I also just came from a rejection (what a way to end my experience at the conference…). I moped a bit while one of the team members got ready for his last pitch of the day. When he finally got up to go, we wished him good luck. The three members that were left around the table (one of us had to leave the convention early for some personal business) just sat there for a moment. We were completely drained of energy.

But despite our exhaustion, we all closed our eyes and sent him all of our good vibes. I had done it instinctively and was surprised to see everyone doing the same when my eyes fluttered open again.

It must have worked because when he walked out of that room, he was all smiles. It was a victory for us all! Now THAT was a way to end our experience. Well, that and a trip to Barnes and Noble… And also beer and pizza.

3. There Were Some Great Workshops

There was truly some knowledge to be had! The workshops at the conference were fantastic (except for the depressing screenwriter that did nothing but complain about the business). We learned a great deal about the craft, different disciplines (and how well that information transcends across genres), and about ourselves as writers.

All right, it’s back to the word mines for me!

Have a great Monday, everyone!

Love, Joy



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