You can tell I’m excited when I blog about a conference that hasn’t even happened yet. Next weekend, however, I will be in writing nirvana as I attend my second Claytons conference.
Yes, I would love to be attending RWA’s official conference in Fremantle, Western Australia (I spent part of my honeymoon there many years ago) but attending the Claytons conference is by no means second best. (That’s right, the virtual conference you attend when you’re not attending the physical one.)
Last year I came away with invaluable knowledge given by expert writers and publishers, won some amazing books and even came first place in a fast fiction contest. (My banner was one of those wonderful prizes.) But the most important thing I discovered was some amazing, supportive writers who to this day check on my progress and offer their encouragement. Three of the lovely ladies I met last year have since acquired contracts for their stories. How exciting is that?
This year, we have pre-conference exercises. We had to create a scene in which the cleaning of a bathtub had to be mentioned. Doesn’t sound that romantic, right? Oh it was fun though – when I managed to get an actual 'scene' written and not the short story I kept writing instead. I do hope we get to read the winning entries because I know there will be some fabulous ones.
We also had to complete a paragraph on sensual tension by adding another 200 – 250 words to the original text. Again, I’m hoping we get to read each other’s entries and see how everyone worked their magic. :) The exercises were all in good fun but more importantly they’re all building blocks for our skill levels.
While two of my favourite authors will be in Fremantle, (and yes I’m disappointed I don’t get to meet them in person) this year’s Claytons team has provided a fantastic group of writers and publishers ready and willing to share their knowledge and experience with us regardless of our individual skill levels. Next month’s blog will, no doubt, be a bubbling mess of indecipherable babble as I share my experiences with these generous people – if I can last that long...
To add to this month’s excitement, my family and I attended the wedding of two special friends. They married on Heron Island (it’s off the Central Queensland coast for those who don’t know.) The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Not a cloud crossed the sky, crystal clear water caressed powdery white sand in effortless ripples and the beginnings of a spectacular sunset served as backdrop for the ceremony. I managed to deliver the reading without my usual nervous stuttering. I even remembered to turn on the microphone so I could be heard before stepping back to witness those wonderful words – ‘I do.’
The story of how they met belongs to them, but to witness their happiness on their special day is something I simply must share. My personal highlight was their wedding dance. My first dance as a married woman was a sedate waltz to the Honeydrippers’ Sea of Love. Theirs was a beautiful re-enactment of Dirty Dancing’s amazing finale. To the tune of ‘I’ve Had the Time of my Life’, they had it covered from ‘Johnny’ leading her on to the stage to ‘Baby’ leaping in to his arms. YouTube may have found itself another wedding sensation. :)
Before all the excitement gets the better of me, I’ll sign off. Think of me next weekend glued to my computer chair, my eyeballs drying out as I refuse to blink, hoping like hell I’m taking notes in my notebook and not on the desk and that no one dares to knock on the door and disturb me. (Of course, I will be taking my WH&S breaks as commanded by Dana, this year’s co-ordinator). ;)