This Best Western in Dallas, TX, has been home for two nights so I could attend the Dallas Writers University — easily the best writers conference I have ever attended. My attention didn’t stray a single second! The presentations were clearly focused on helping new writers to get their books published, and the presenters were seasoned professionals in agenting, marketing, publicity, and contracts. Best of all, the attendee list was kept very small, enabling an intimate setting and lots of 1:1 interaction between participants and presenters.
The reason I would fly from Seattle to Dallas for a writers conference can be summed up in one name: Chip MacGregor. This extraordinary agent not only made the material lively and fun when he spoke to the full group, but he also spent private time with every participant to discuss her or his book proposal. I haven’t seen this ever before, and I started attending writers conferences back before the crust of the Earth cooled.
I can’t put my 20+ pages of notes into a blog post, but I can start with a point Chip made early in the day: What is the promise you want to make in your writing? You have to know yourself, know what message you want to convey, and know what your promise to readers is. If all writers would spend some time living in those three questions, they could become much more focused and effective in their writing.