Wednesday, 2 November 2016

#OMEGA16


Edmund Rice Conference Centre, Mulgoa, NSW
Crazy, busy, educational, funny, friendly, food-laden, kindred-spirit-finding, word-focussed, supportive, Christ-centred conference.
 
Too many adjectives? 

Whether it would be good to edit the amount of adjectives and word phrases used to describe Omega Writers Conference 2016 or not, these were the words that I found came quickly and easily when mentally reviewing this last couple of days.

This year we saw some new initiatives:
  • Live streaming of the CALEB awards via Face Book
  • Boot-camp writer room (a room set aside for writers to attend with their work, and have an experienced mentor give tips and pointers)
  • Our first American guest speaker – Hallee Bridgeman – who funded her own trip to come and share some insights into her writing realistic and authentic Christian Fiction
  • The Omega AGM held at a time and place where those of us from states (and countries, Iola Goulton) other than Queensland, had an opportunity to attend, and get voted in as president (that was not on my schedule, but everyone seemed happy about it.)
  • Saturday lunch and dinner—we usually have that, but this time, Conference Committee gave us the opportunity to sit in genre groups (fiction, non-fiction, children’s, poetry, screenwriting, editors, etc); and at dinner to sit with writers from our own city or state. This proved to be an effective networking exercise

As well as the new, we also enjoyed some of the old program highlights:
  • A wide range of workshops for various genres and writing styles, publishing and marketing, and spiritual encouragement
  • We had appointments available for writers to book manuscript consultations
  • There were interactive discussion panels with experienced writers and publishers
  • We had our Sunday morning worship service which featured the theme: Words that Change the World

  • The reintroduction of the CALEB awards evening, featuring  guest singer/musician, Astrid Elliman
  • And a huge range of books to buy from Novella Distribution (in the words of Homer Simpson – Mmmmmm, books!)



As I was given the privilege to take on the leadership of Omega Writers, I personally had good opportunity to connect and brainstorm with a number of writers from around the Australasian region. Though I don’t imagine anything will be enacted tomorrow, I can see that if we continue the dialogue, and I employ a bit of delegation (which I am famous for) we will see more initiatives come into fruition, and there is some serious discussion about the introduction of a Nanna Nap at conference.

But jokes aside—from conversations I had at Omega 16, there is more that we can do – more strategies to be applied, more ideas to be supported and encouraged, more that Omega Writers as a fellowship of writers can offer through online interaction.

A few weeks ago, I posted a You Tube address regarding getting a larger body of supporters involved with Omega—at least financially, but hopefully by way of offering skills and talents. You can review that address here.

Let’s hear from you soon, if you want to be involved in those sorts of conversations.

Lastly, to make amends for a serious oversight at the end of the conference, I would like to acknowledge the conference committee. There is a lot of work that goes into organising an event like this, and we have often enjoyed the benefits without understanding the sacrifice that is made and the stress that is endured by those making it all happen. Susan Barnes has been the conference registrar. She has done a wonderful job of making it all happen, and making sure we don’t get left behind at the airport. As Susan is stepping down from that role, I would like to offer her our thanks for her efforts. Simon Kennedy, as outgoing Omega President, has had a finger in just about every pie, including conference. Simon is a quiet achiever (unless you see him on his You Tube channel Songs With Simon, and then he’s quite animated and silly). Thanks must go to him as well, for his enormous effort. The other committee members, who are staying with the job for another year, are Raewyn Elsegood, Heather Monro and Jenny Glazebrook. What wonderful women they are, and we thank them for their enthusiastic and faithful diligence. We appreciate you all.


20 comments:

  1. Congratulations to everyone involved, especially the organising team. Well done.

    Meredith, congratulations on your appointment. This was my first Omega Conference and there was a lovely spirit present.

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    1. I'm sorry I didn't get to chat to you more, Ian. I was on my way to an appointment when I passed you, and the afternoon ended up being pretty full. The introduction of that nanna nap sounds like a good idea :) Hope to see you again at next year's event.

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  2. Every year conference seems to get better. I love the rich Christian fellowship and every year I learn more. I'm looking forward to next year.

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  3. Sounds like it was a great time for all able to go. Congratulations on your appointment Meredith.

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  4. Thank you for telling us so beautifully about the conference, Meredith. Was really concerned when Simon let us know he could not continue as president. Really thrilled you have taken on this very busy position for us. I am already praying about getting the "Yes" from the Lord about being able to attend next year. Even more sorry now could not be there this year.

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    1. It was a great time, Mary, and we missed you and Ray. Hopefully next year.

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  5. It was a fantastic time. I hope I can get there next year. :-)

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  6. Thanks for sharing, Meredith. I too was worried when Simon stood down, but the Lord had it all in hand. Thank you for stepping up to the plate. Bless you and the committee as Omega moves forward changing the world with words.

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  7. I also enjoyed this conference and hope to be there next year. Thanks to all involved in putting on this event. Congratulations on your appointment Meredith.

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  8. I have just joined as a member - so count me in if I can help in any way.
    I am struggling with feeling bad at cancelling my workshop... so happy to assist in some way.

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    1. Hope you're feeling better now, Patricia - it was lousy timing for you, wasn't it? Congrats again on your CALEB award! And you'd make LOTS of us very happy if you presented the workshop you'd planned to give this year, in 2017's conference. Pretty please???

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  9. Thanks, Patricia, I will put you on my list of willing helpers. Be sure I will get back to you. :)

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  10. Great wrap-up, Madame President :) It was a brilliant conference. I'd go further than a nanna nap though. I think we should have one whole day in the program with labels like 'catch-up', 'nanna nap', 'talk til you drop' and 'laugh like a hyena (or something less cliched). Thanks to Simon, Susan and the committee for everything you did. Looking forward to your presidential reign Meredith.

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    1. Nola, well said. I agree - a brilliant conference is a great description for #Omega16. I lost talking and catch-up time by going to bed early, 11pm on Saturday night, lol. :)

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  11. Meredith, We appreciate your willingness to serve as our president. Many thanks to you, and to the past and current Omega board members, our past-President Simon Kennedy, and the conference committee for volunteering to serve the Australasian Christian writing community. Your hard work is valued and appreciated. :)

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  12. Nicely said Meredith. It was an awesome weekend and I am still buzzing with inspiration (and perhaps sleep deprivation). Soooo worth it though. :)

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  13. Meredith, great summary of a great conference! Thank you for taking the reins of Omega - I know you've got lots of great ideas, and I know to stay out of your way or I'll get roped into your plans. And thanks to Simon and the committee for their service. It is appreciated.

    Susan, thank you for all your work over the last few years. I've appreciated your calm professionalism.

    Raewyn, I'm grateful for your enthusiasm, and know that with you in charge, #Omega17 will be as good or better.

    And Jenny and Heather (and others) have done a great job behind the scenes. Everything went smoothly, and that's a testament to the work you all put in. Thank you.

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  14. God willing I'll be there again next year and hopefully with a book.

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  15. Fabulous post, Meredith. Yes, the introduction of the Nanna Nap is a great idea! Especially if I want to avoid becoming Grumpy Granny. Thank you for taking on the role of president. You're a star!

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  16. Reading this brought it all back. Thanks Meredith. It really was a very special time. I'm adding a few personal thoughts on Friday.

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