Monday, April 30, 2012

Field's End Writers' Conference

Robin, Linda, Reba and me at dinner at the Treehouse Cafe,
after the conference
Saturday was a rich gift: a day spent at a conference, put on by the Field's End Writers' Community of Bainbridge Island. My friend Robin is a dedicated volunteer for Field's End, a group which was founded 10 years ago by Nichole Vick and David Guterson - yes, the "Snow Falling on Cedars" David Guterson.

I've known about Field's End for years, and would never have DARED to attend one of their events, because I didn't consider myself enough of a "real" writer to mingle with others, but a few weeks ago, Robin and I were having coffee with our friend, Reba after taking a walk together. Robin encouraged Reba and me to sign up for the conference. Both of us balked, but said we'd think about it...and then we both jumped in and registered.

Yesterday, we met at the fabulous IslandWood Center with their friend Linda, and immersed ourselves in a community that was warmer, more inviting and encouraging than I would ever have imagined a creative gathering could be. I knew that I was a "real" writer at the Fields' End conference.

The structure of the day was perfect: opportunities to listen to published authors, teachers of the craft, and those versed in the business side of things, all discussing a variety of topics, from craft to art to marketing to first novels, practices and writing strategies, as well as changes in the publishing industry. There were large gatherings and small group sessions. I attended sessions addressed by Jonathon Evison, David Guterson & Nichole Vick, Judith Kitchen, Barry Eisler, Sage Cohen, Isaac Marion and Susan Wingate (and there were many others from which to choose). It was stimulating, inspiring, encouraging, and joyful.

Islandwood itself is a place of rare natural beauty, and the staff could not have been more welcoming. The food served (breakfast, lunch and a wine-and-cheese reception during book-signing, at the end) was so good that it truly defies description, unlike any "camp" food I've ever tasted. IslandWood is the perfect venue for a conference, classes or a wedding.

I am so thankful to Robin for encouraging me to take this step, to all of the volunteers who made the conference possible, and to David Guterson and Nichole Vick for founding this community. I learned about many resources that will be helpful to me as a writer, and am interested in taking more classes and participating in Field's End's roundtables. I felt affirmed by everyone to whom I listened and spoke, and was excited by their experiences, readings and successes.

After the conference, we met our husbands at a local cafe for dinner (all except Robin's husband, who was visiting their son at college). It was a wonderful time of fellowship and discussion, a good way to let off some steam after taking in so much information in classes during the day. I have many handouts and notes to review, and can't wait to go over them.

The four of us women decided that we could create a reading/writing group, to gather for shared critique and support. That is an exciting prospect, and one that inspires me to keep writing, even as I continue to work on marketing "Because of Katie."

I felt the love of God in this event, gently guiding me as I take another step in my life as writer, and I am thankful!


Robin Gaphni said...

I'm so glad you came, Karen. It was such a rich day in so many ways. Looking forward to many more "days of writing" with you!

Karen said...

Oops, I put my "writer's weekend" comment on the wrong post. So let me continue in form and just say, the guild thing is very cool. Really giving so generously to make a difference. I am not surprised that you are right there in the thick of things.

AnnDeO said...

I love this! Gives me courage to participate in more writing and sharing with the outside world. You are a star.

Margaret Nevinski said...

Karen, thanks for your great post about the Field's End conference. I'm glad I got to meet you through Robin. I'm also glad you took the leap and attended the conference. Field's End is for all levels of writers, from "just thinking" to professional authors. I'm a volunteer for Field's End, and look forward to seeing you at more events!

rebecca said...

i am thrilled for you! it is always so rewarding when we bravely open a new door to creativity. i would have loved to have experienced this right beside you!

thank you also for your kind words today. how intriguing that i am doing just that...painting the bloom true intuitive way ....those very poppies!!!

i always enjoy your company.

Busy Bee Suz said...

You don't consider yourself a real writer? I am laughing at are an excellent writer. And I have a book here on my coffee table to prove it!
I'm glad you both took a chance on this...and you enjoyed it as well.
Your life is evolving daily Karen, don't you love that?

kario said...

Good for you! I think we're all so hesitant to give ourselves a stamp of 'writer' that it often takes someone else to give us a push. Glad you went.

I'm headed to Islandwood for a retreat in a few weeks and you've stoked my interest for it, for sure. I've never been there, but I can't wait to check it out!