For years, going to the Willamette Writers Conference, has been on my to do list. And I finally had the chance to attend this year! The conference was held in Portland, Oregon at the Sheraton Airport Hotel from August 3rd – 5th.
I kind of had an idea of what to expect, having attended several tarot conferences and a few other conventions. The one thing that did surprise me was how many people attend. Most of the workshops I went to were pretty packed and the meal times, when everyone came together, the tables pleasantly crowded (see the video clip below for a look around the dining hall on Sunday afternoon). Even with the large crowd, it felt like a smaller conference. Everyone was nice. I didn’t know anyone that was attending so I kind of wandered from table to table and sat with different people. They were all very welcoming and inclusive, and the conversations were great. Oh, and I got to meet Derek Murphy in person!
The workshops I went to were also pretty cool. I came out of the weekend with three favorite presenters: Russell Nohelty, Cynthia Whitcomb, and Jennie Komp. Russell is an awesome speaker, a highly communicative super nerd with so many wonderful ideas and insights. I’d go to any workshop topic that he was presenting. Cynthia has so much experience and is a very expressive speaker. I learned so much in both of her workshops that I attended, and I’m so excited that she’s local-ish. Jennie wowed me with her high energy and super amazing folder of handouts that she had prepared for everyone in class. Plus, we all go keys and other fun swag, it was so cool.
As a conference director myself (Northwest Tarot Symposium), I was impressed with how smoothly the Willamette Writers Conference ran. It was so well organized and a lot of attention to detail was put into it. I know they’ve been doing it for a while, like 49 years, but these people have got it down.
Oh, and at the end they had a bunch of bottles of wine left over from the raffle table, so they were selling them for half price. That was a lot of fun, with people rushing over to grab multiple bottles for like 10 bucks each! (Yeah… I like the vino. And it was some damn good wine.)
I plan to attend again in 2019, either as a volunteer or maybe a vendor for my tribe at the Northwest Independent Writers Association. We’ll see!