Monday, 29 October 2018

From a Whisper to a Shout: Feedback from Conference

By Iola Goulton @iolagoulton


The Omega Writers’ Conference is over for another year. Over eighty delegates (including a record nineteen men) met in the beautiful grounds of The Monastery in Adelaide, South Australia, for a weekend filled with talking about our favourite subjects: authors, books, and writing.


This year’s conference welcomed a record 32 first-time attendees, including three from New Zealand (woo hoo!). That means lots of old friends to meet again, and new friends to make.

 

Six attendees were recipients of the inaugural Omega Writers conference scholarships, and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the fund. Those who attended the AGM voted to continue the scholarships again next year, and we started collecting donations. If you missed out on donating, you can donate via the website: www.omegawriters.org. This is a great way to bless a new attendee who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend.

We were blessed to again have US Young Adult author Alex Marestraing with us as our keynote speaker. He set the tone for the weekend on Friday night with his authenticity and vulnerability as he shared on his views on writing and life. Alex is an inspiring and quietly powerful speaker who got us all thinking as he shared “chapters” from the book of author voice.


I need to reread my notes and unpack some of what he said later in another blog post (perhaps when I’m writing in the comfort of my own home, rather than in an airport departure lounge where I’ve just realised my notes are in my checked baggage … that’s what 15 hours of sleep in 72 hours will do for you).

Our theme for the weekend was “From a whisper to a shout”, and many of the speakers referenced this in either word or theme. I spoke on building an author platform, and on using social media as an author (using material from my Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge). The theme definitely fit my sessions, as we all start our platforms with nothing and build from that whisper to (hopefully) a shout of influence.

Conference chaplain Carolyn Bourke challenged me in the Sunday morning worship session with a quote from Daring Greatly by Brene Brown:

Don’t puff up, don’t shrink back. Turn up, be yourself, and stand your sacred ground.


I suspect this will be the subject of a future blog post as well …

CALEB Award

The winners of the CALEB Awards are traditionally announced on the Saturday night of conference. The awards were established by Anne Hamilton during her term as President of Omega, and CALEB stands for Christian Authors Lifting Each other’s Books.

This year we are delighted to congratulate:

Carolyn Miller (Fiction, for The Ellusive Miss Ellison)
Jen Gibbs (Non-fiction, for She)
Penny Reeve (Children’s, for Camp Max)
Susan J Brice (Unpublished Fiction)


Conference organiser Raewyn Elsegood has again done a fabulous job of organising conference. Raewyn is an extrovert who gains energy from organising events, and we’re blessed to have her and her neverending good cheer. Thank you, Raewyn!


Omega Writers President Meredith Resce also did a wonderful job, aided by her hardworking committee. I’m sure Meredith is thrilled to have a record number of members volunteer to be on the committee this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing Omega go from strength to strength under their able leadership.


For those Australian and New Zealand writers who want to join the excitement next year … the 2019 Omega Writers’ Conference will be held at the Edmund Rice Conference Centre, near Sydney, from 25 to 27 October 2019. As President Meredith Resce said in her closing words, if you start saving $13 a week now, you’ll probably have saved enough for the conference fee and accommodation by the time registrations open next June. Start planning now so you don’t miss out!

Just don’t plan to get a lot of sleep.


14 comments:

  1. It was a wonderful conference. I have come home very inspired.

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    1. Good to hear, Adam! It was great to finally meet you in person.

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  2. Thanks for a good wrap up of a great weekend, Iola. Was wonderful to meet so many new people, and get to know others more. Looking forward to Sydney 2019!

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    1. Thank you, Carolyn. Staying up past my bedtime to chat to old and new friends is always my favourite part of conference.

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  3. Thanks Iola, what a great summary of a beautiful weekend! I really enjoyed all the speakers - even the social media one - and the location was superb. It was a truly special time with wonderful people. I could have listened to Alex all day and spent twice as much money at the bookstall!

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    1. Even the social media one? Next time I'll have to bring more great Kiwi chocolate to bribe you with ...

      Thanks, Steph. It was lovely to meet you again!

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  4. Thank you Iola, for making the time to write this excellent summary of our wonderful weekend. It really was a great time of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Not to mention excellent food and excellent food for thought. Alex's sessions were truly inspiring and it is Wonderful that he had the courage to approach us in the first place. I am really looking forward to the new look CALEB prize that you will now be in charge oF. Many blessings

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    1. I had about three hours at Melbourne Airport, which is where I wrote this (I was still half awake at that stage!).

      Conference is always a great time to catch up, and I'm looking forward to going over my notes and letting more of what Alex said sink in. Thanks to you and the committee for all your work in organising another successful conference!

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  5. It was a wonderful weekend, and well worth the lack of sleep. I felt it too, and had only a 30 minute drive down the road :) Such a lot to process.

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    1. I would have loved to have stayed longer and explored the city. I had a lovely view of the beach and the water as I left on the plane. I'll have to come back someday.

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  6. Thank you Iola for summarising so beautifully what i am still trying to process. So many beautiful memories, so many wonderful new friends, and my brain is crammed full of all the information and inspiration I'm trying to sitt through! Not to mention the book stall; I think my husband has forgiven me for the massive hit our credit card took! Kaye Johnson

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    1. Oh, the bookstall! It's great to see so many great Australian and Kiwi Christian books all in one place. Glad you enjoyed the conference - I hope this means we'll see you again next year!

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