Current Project: NMMNG
Status: Creating Believable Characters (Thanks Debbie for sending me back to my reference books! Go check out her post below if you didn't catch it yesterday!)
No, don't worry, I'm not going make you tackle stacks of grading, wrangle a toddler, or outline a YA novel. (Although, if you want to toddler wrangle . . . ) Part of the Vice-President's job in our chapter is finding speakers for our meetings. Lisa, Barb, and I have been doing a little brainstorming, but I want a larger sample size. We all come to meetings for different reasons--some for the social networking, some for the goals and inspiration, some to glean new skills, and some to advance an already flourishing career. I know we have a few lurkers on the blog who may be contemplating joining, and I'm hereby declaring this Delurking Day because I want to hear from you too.
First, think back on meetings and conference presentations that you have particularly enjoyed. If you remember names, please share! Was it just that the speaker was particularly entertaining or did it make a real difference in your process. For me, Jennifer Crusie's presentation at 2005 nationals on conflict changed EVERYTHING for me. A light bulb went off, and I saw everything wrong with my first WIP, and I suddenly "got" every book I read hence forth. Of course, the goddess Crusie is unlikely to come west, but this is my personal gold standard. At the same conference, the Sure-Fire Six Step Pitch (by an author with the last name McKnight, thank you vague conference materials) got me started on the road to synopsis writing. And the incomparable Cherry Adair and her presentation on goal setting changed my outlook forever--I still have my little index card of goals from that workshop.
More locally, every time Alice talks synopsis and pitches, I come away so inspired. When Terri Reed spoke on critique groups, I discovered an important part of the writer's journey that I was not aware of previously. Elizabeth Lyons changed my mindset about editing and selling (I may have seen her as part of Willamette Writers--my memory is a tad fuzzy). Mary Buckingham made pacing finally make sense to me. In four years with the chapter, there have been so many speakers who have come along at just the right moment for me--inspiring me, keeping me going, illuminating parts of the process, and it would be impossible to list all of them. I am intensely grateful to past Presidents and Vice-Presidents for finding such valuable speakers for the group. I have a lot to live up to!
In addition to knowing what speakers have made a lasting impression on you, I also want to know where you are right now in your career. What sorts of presentations would be the most helpful for you? As I go forth and track down speakers, I want to make sure that I'm hitting areas that are relevant. Do you prefer writer speakers or have you enjoyed our meetings with non-writer speakers like the forensic anthropologist? (I wish we had had three more hours with her!) Have you seen other speakers elsewhere (nationals, Portland, other conferences etc.) that you wish you could share with the group?
I'm trying to assemble a wish list of speakers to reach out to because the worst they can do is say no, right? So dream as big as you want!
*Of course the flipside of great speakers is ones who fall a little flat, and if you want to discuss less than helpful speakers, please don't use names on the blog here--just mention the things that made it less than helpful for you (I do want to know this too!) and feel free to email me privately.