What a Women Writing the West (WWW) conference we had this year in Golden, CO! I knew it was going to be a great conference when I walked into the hotel and was greeted by a life-sized Painted Pony. Yee Haw. My cowgirl boots busted into a line dance as the front desk attendant gave me a lopsided smile, probably wondering what a nut-case she was about to check in.
After fetching my room key, I through my bags on the floor, took a migraine pill (marriage of stress during flight and high altitude), and went in search of any WWW members I could muster up. Even though my skull felt like it would split open with the slightest whisper, I sauntered up to the dining hall and asked for a table. The waiter asked if I was alone. Glancing around and seeing no one I recognized, I signed and replied, “Yes.” Probably best until my meds kicked in, or should I say kicked my headache out with the wash water.
I sat, holding my forehead in my hands, looking at the menu. I glanced up to see two striking ladies walk in as I was seated right by the entrance. They too looked around as the waiter asked if they were with the conference group, shook their heads, and relied, “Table for two.”
Without thinking twice, or even once, my mouth replied, “Why don’t you join me?” That’s a big, bold move for this introvert. Courage and elation chased the migraine out bit by bit as it tucked tail and scooted further out of my cranium. The ladies peered at each other, shrugged and said, “Why not.” I smiled and motioned them over, sitting a tad taller.
We chatted, tossing about introductions. I picked at my salad to sooth my tummy from the effects of the medication and waited until their meals arrived before digging in. We ate and chatted and finding out they were Texas gals elated me as I’m from Washington State. How thrilling to sit and share dinner with writers from the WWW Conference who were on opposite ends of the nation. My head felt better with each word spoken between us. New friends. Life time friends. Laughter. Migraine nearly gone.
This is my favorite part of the WWW Conference. The ladies. Writers. Publishers. New friends. New beginnings. No one looks down on another. There is no competition. There is support, acceptance, advice, sharing, encouraging, cheering. There is hope. There is camaraderie. A feeling I’ve not felt with other writer’s organizations. Besides my cowgirl boots fit right in.
This year I’ve made such a strong support group amongst these amazing women who love writing about women and the west. I’ve made agent and editor contacts, memoir contacts, research contacts, other women whose stories include Native-Americans-as-mine-do-also contacts, including my roommate, and such a network of women who love to share their success and how they arrived. From bookmarks to booth displays, from research to speaking tips, from silent auctions to quilt blocks, from self-publishing to traditional publishing, and all the ins-and-outs of this wonderful business we call writing.
Thank you Women Who Write the West for another amazing year in Colorado.
Next year our conference will be in Redmond, OR. Please comment if you have any questions. I would love to pay it forward and assist you in any way I can. Happy Monday!