ASJA 2012 Writer’s Conference in NYC

Late last night, I returned from a trip to New York City where I attended the 2012 Writing Boot Camp, sponsored by the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). My daughter, Carly, who lives in Seattle, Washington, came with me. Needless to say, the two days of intense panels and trainings, aimed to further our freelance writing careers, provoked interest, humor, and overloaded brains. I have three takes on the Writers Conference.

From the writer in me: The Conference went for 3 days, but we only signed up for 2 days. The variety of panels and topics was broad, including: Copyright laws, Women’s and Men’s Markets, Writing Description, Research Skills, Interviewing, Corporate Markets, Social Media, the list goes on. Carly and I split up and collected as much information as possible.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the book, The Happiness Project, was the luncheon speaker. Writers, publicists, and editors of top-notch magazines and newspapers were on the panels and freely shared ideas. I realized more so that rejections are common, so don’t give up on your writing and keep submitting material but follow all the submission guidelines.

There were hundreds of us attendees roaming around The Roosevelt Hotel, making effort to get to know one another. But, subject matter was more aimed toward secular writing and because I am more inclined to write about God or religion or healing spiritually, I probably will look for another type of Writer’s Conference to attend next time.

From me as a person: The ASJA upkeeps an ethic I felt was important. During the panel discussions, the moderator would expect the speakers to be honest. No sugar-coating. Writing is hard work, sometimes too wrapped up in luck, often not profitable, but rewarding.

As tired as we all were at the end of the day, humor could still be found. We were able to laugh at ourselves. For example, attendees must want to escape the room quickly, because before each session, the aisle seats would be filled first. Everyone else had to say “excuse me,” and squeeze around them to sit in the empty seats over to the wall. Once, only once, did I meet a lady, Darlene Fuhst, who actually sat near the wall and I didn’t have to climb over her to find a seat. We laughed and she let me take a picture.

Carly at Grand Central Station in NYC

From me as a mom: Because my daughters have the best sense of humor ever, going anywhere with them is fun. We easily maneuver our way around foreign territory, share clothes, and we know exactly when to run to catch a train (without spilling our coffee), try something new, or stop and eat a snack. We don’t argue. We don’t buy souvenirs. And, without speaking a word, one of us can hand-off all our belongings to the other to go help a mother carrying a child and baggage up stairs. Also, Carly’s input helps me develop ideas, not just accept one idea as if it was the gospel truth.


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