Honing Skills

If one is to be proficient in the pursuit of profession, goals, or even simple passions, honing skills is a necessity. Hopefully it is also enjoyable. Practice, research, and association with others engaged in similar pursuits are all invaluable. Generally these interactions stimulate, provoke, and incite imagination. They get you juiced!

I make it a point to attend several writing conferences each year. I prefer the more intimate gatherings of under one hundred where an attendee can benefit from lots of personal interaction with other writers and oodles of one on one time with talented conference staff or speakers.

As I have for the past three years, I attended the Writing the Rockies get together at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado in the early part of June. I have found this casual, friendly gathering particularly helpful.  I have come to know many of the repeat participants. Without fail I have departed with a myriad of great new ideas, and heightened enthusiasm for my own writing. This year was no exception. Thought provoking presentations and panel discussions in a relaxed atmosphere included terrific information and give and take on publishing, agent representation, magazine writing, novels, screen play and poetry.

I must admit I still prefer highly descriptive prose to poetry. I cannot remember any standing ovations for any of the poetry I have written, (and am not surprised). It is not a writing field that I intend to focus on. However, David Mason, one of the foremost poets and poet authorities of our time was one of the speakers. He was fascinating. I can now say that I have gained a new appreciation and understanding of the art form.

There was also an opportunity to talk to W.C. Jameson, an author of sixty plus books and fifteen hundred or so published essays and stories. This guy rocks, both as a person and a writer. His new book through Rockin SR Publishing, “So you Want to be a Writer, Do This Stuff” is absolutely terrific. I already find myself incorporating his twelve great writing tips into my own work and thankful for it! This book is part of a new “Do This Stuff” series for which I will be writing, “So You Want to Be a Flyfisher, Do This Stuff.”

Another staff member experienced in film direction and production put on an engrossing several hour talk. A brief screen play was written, actors were cast, and different shots were taken of the same scene or portions of the scene. They were then sliced, diced and spliced together into a comprehensive one minute “quick film” via computer on a remote screen in front of the group. This was a particularly insightful micro peek at how an hour of film production is boiled down into a succinct minute of actual film. I might add that it makes one very reticent about doing any on-camera interviews. Film editing gives the words “cut and paste” a whole new dimension.

I am looking forward to this conference and others again next year. If I attend enough of them I might even become fairly accomplished!

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