I had to make a hard decision last week, but I know it was the right one. I’ve crunched and re-crunched the numbers and the budget and all our upcoming really-need-to-be-done-ASAP projects, and it’s just not possible.
I will not be going to the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. annual conference this year. I’m not incredibly disappointed – last year was my big year there, after all. But I am sad I’m going to miss seeing several friends, because sometimes the OWFI conference is the only place I see some of them.
But I don’t have any contest entries for OWFI this year, because anything I could enter would be the same category I won last year, and I’m not allowed to enter that category at all this year because… well, I won last year.
I, honestly, haven’t even renewed my OWFI membership for 2013-2014… because I don’t have $20 that isn’t already slotted for something else.
I thought about applying for a scholarship – that’s how I attended OWFI the first time I went. But I can’t swing the money for a hotel room, either, even splitting it with several people like I’ve always done. A friend offered to let me stay with them, instead of at a hotel, but I was also leaning toward not going because…
I’ve gone to a lot of conferences the past couple years. I’ve traveled more in the past two years, I think, than I have in my entire life except for when my parents dragged me along in the move from Idaho to Oklahoma – when I was a year old.
I’ve focused a lot on improving my craft the past two years, because that’s what conferences help you do.
I need to find inspiration again.
And then an opportunity fell into my lap.
For a little over a year now (or maybe two years. Time flies and I’m terrible at keeping track of it.) I’ve followed author/blogger Jami Gold. (I don’t comment near as often as I read, sadly.)
Jami Gold made a post the other day about WANACon.
I’d been eyeing WANACon since the first one they put on last year, and I very much liked the idea of being able to attend a conference without actually leaving my house. I’d tried the Muse Online Writer’s Conference (which is free, just fyi for the rest of you on a tight budget, too) a couple of times before, but honestly I miss the live atmosphere of an actual conference. Forums just don’t give feedback and interaction the same way.
But WANACon was still nearly $150. That’s the same price as the OWFI conference (or at least what OWFI has been in past years), so there still wasn’t room in the budget for it.
I kept reading through Jami’s post. And then I hit gold.
They’re looking for moderators for the online sessions.
And if you’re selected, and can moderate at least three sessions, you get a full refund of your registration for WANACon once you’ve fulfilled the promised commitment.
It was a deal I couldn’t pass up.
So I’ve turned in my application to volunteer, and we’ll see how things go!
Otherwise, the only other conference I’m going to try to attend for sure is the Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers in October. Because it’s (usually) only $50, and it’s local. Seriously, it’s 20 minutes from my house. And that’s only if traffic is bad.
And if the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers puts together another (free) Tulsa Creative Writers Conference this year, I will attend that as well. But for the most part, in 2014 I’m going to focus on being re-inspired.
And on spending less money.
Jami GoldJanuary 30, 2014 - 1:29 pm ·
Thanks for the WANACon shout out, Rebekah! I’ll be in touch. 🙂
Rebekah LoperJanuary 30, 2014 - 6:01 pm ·
No problem! Thanks!
AlessaJanuary 30, 2014 - 1:43 pm ·
I had the opportunity to go to Britain as part of a vacation centered around LonCon (WorldCon, held in London this year) but I opted to be responsible and put that money towards replacing my HVAC system instead. This winter’s been rough!
As for other conferences & conventions I’m going to, I’m really looking forward towards Wiscon in May!
Rebekah LoperJanuary 30, 2014 - 6:06 pm ·
This winter has been rough pretty much everywhere! It’s insane!
Maria ZanniniJanuary 30, 2014 - 3:00 pm ·
I hope they offer that option next year. This year has me going in twenty different directions at once.
That said, I prefer live cons when I can afford and travel to them. The energy and camaraderie stays with you long after it’s over. I’ve met some of my best friends at cons.
Rebekah LoperJanuary 30, 2014 - 6:07 pm ·
I prefer live cons too, but I’ll definitely settle for this compromise this time around. Hopefully I will get to see my friends at OWFI again next spring!
helenrjJanuary 30, 2014 - 4:40 pm ·
I will be attending the SCBWI Houston conference in April. It will be my first conference ever. So excited.
Rebekah LoperJanuary 30, 2014 - 6:08 pm ·
Awesome! My first conference ever was the Ozark Creative Writer’s Conference a few years back. Be prepared to take a lot of notes!
helenrjJanuary 30, 2014 - 9:35 pm ·
will do *begins sharpening pencils and buys mega-chub of writing paper*
heylookawriterfellowJanuary 31, 2014 - 10:53 am ·
Good luck on the Moderator gig. I’m rooting for ya!
Rebekah LoperJanuary 31, 2014 - 12:48 pm ·
Thanks! I think things will go well. 🙂
Shel HarringtonFebruary 2, 2014 - 3:08 pm ·
WANAcon sounds interesting – I’ll look forward to your feedback on it, Rebekah!
Rebekah LoperFebruary 3, 2014 - 11:47 am ·
I’ve heard good things about the last session of it, so I have high hopes! There will definitely be a review afterward. 🙂
L. PalmerFebruary 4, 2014 - 2:53 pm ·
The cost of conferences is the main thing keeping me from going. While the resources can be great, so is having food on the table.
Good luck with your endeavors!
Rebekah LoperFebruary 4, 2014 - 4:27 pm ·
Believe me, I understand! If you see a conference that catches your eye, though, do make sure to see if they have a scholarship option. Not all of them do, but it never hurts to check.