Over the course of the day, I learned a few things:
1. Writers are not nearly as isolated and introverted as people think. Not only did we have nearly 80 people, but all of those people were on-board with the whole notion of participant-driven sessions and interacting with as many people as they could while they were there.
2. Writers are savvy networkers. I saw more people interacting with complete strangers at this conference than I ever saw at UWM's Spring Writing Festival. That's not to knock that conference, because it's great, but the atmosphere at WriteCamp was so much more relaxed and open, that people felt comfortable stepping out of their bubble.
3. Milwaukee's community is big. Outside of the members of The Milwaukee Writers Workshop who showed up to the event, there were a large number of people who I've never met. We did, however, have people come all the way up from Chicago-land.
4. Community - or the notion of community - is changing dramatically. I had more than one person come up to me during the conference and say that they enjoyed the approachable nature of the conference and how they felt more apt to share and listen than they do at their regular group or with their colleagues. This made me happy.
WriteCamp is an evolution in the way we think about how people in the writing/editing/publishing world think about disseminating knowledge to the world at large. Traditional means are working anymore, and no one likes the idea of the acedemic world thinking that they have the keys to the publishing world by determining what's "good" and "bad." WriteCamp proved that there are more experts in the world than people know about, and they're willing to share, to mentor, and to support the community that they're becoming a part of.
Let's hope that word spreads about WriteCamp and that we can hope to begin fostering a new generation of writers who believe in our mission. Thank you to everyone who attended, participated, volunteered, and came up to me and said nice things.