Have you ever had one of those crazy ass thoughts of taking over the world? Well okay, maybe not the world but a tiny section of it where you see work needs to be done. A discussion–and therefore a nugget of an idea–started about the lack of writer events where I live.
A small group of us chatted about the need for a boutique event that was top notch in caliber but affordable and facilitated in such a way so that all attendees could connect. It wasn’t going to be cheap but it wouldn’t be excessive either. We wanted those who couldn’t afford the huge events to be able to attend ours.
I know you’ve already guessed that I signed on to the project. Yup, I saw a need and the control-freak in me wouldn’t let anyone else do the Wine Country Writers’ Festival or #WCWF was born.
sidebar: (Please note: Word on the Lake which is a lovely Spring writing festival about two hours from me. We are in the south and in the fall. A perfect compliment to each other.)
I tried, really I did, to talk myself out of it. In fact I even pushed Jim Jackson, my eventual co-crazy-writer person on this project, to please talk me out of it. Writers’ are supposed to write–not put on big huge parties for other writers.
Well, Jim is obviously not very persuasive because I went out and got the domain for the WCWF, registered the name, and set to work on finding a venue. That was all in 2019.
Fast forward to September 2021 and we just completed our inaugural Wine Country Writers’ Festival with over 100 participants from all over North America and as far a way as Germany.
What took us so long? Nah, no one would ask that question, would they? Well, I’ll answer it anyway. You see, I don’t particularly like tech. It’s confusing and there’s only so much room amongst the whirling tornado that is My Twisted Writer Brain! So while everyone in 2020 pivoted to an online format, I stubbornly refused and said I’d wait until we could have it in person.
What changed? Believe me! It wasn’t me–or perhaps it was. Yeah, it was. With a huge resigned sigh, I gave in and Jim and I started to plan.
Man oh man, the tech for me was the most stressful anticipated entity but I needn’t have worried as that’s where Jim and his magic came in.
Phew. He brought an online platform to the festival that let us do pitches and blue pencils all in one room with private spaces–I know it sounded unbelievable to me too– but it worked. And later, many of us met in the same space to have a glass of wine and unwind.
Leading up to WCWF there was never any doubt of continuing. We had FANTASTIC presenters, a DIVERSITY in writers and communities, and we all had each other. A camaraderie, even online, formed as participants asked questions and offered praise and support for those around them. It was so wonderful to see a safe learning, and sharing, environment.
Both Jim Jackson and I are very proud of what we accomplished. The work was worth it and 2021 is already in the works. Let’s hope we can meet in person.
Thank you for all those involved this year–presenters, volunteers, contest entries, participants, and judges. Wow!
And you know, me and My Twisted Writer Brain came out the other side–and in one piece! Ah-mazing. I’m so thankful that this new creative program of WCWF is now a reality. September 2022–Watch out!
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