The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) hosts an annual conference each year, and this year was my very first time attending one. The conference is located in a different city each year, with this year’s being held in Tampa, Florida. Being from the midwest – and northern midwest at that – I was ready not only for books and writers galore, but also for ample sunshine and warmth.
Tampa is approximately sixteen hours from my university town, and two friends and I spent two days driving each way. We drank heaps of coffee, jammed to a bounty of bops – new and throwbacks alike – and remained optimistic despite the occasional upset (the biggest being a slew of issues that welcomed us upon our arrival at our Tampa hotel).
Traveling is exhausting, but what was more exhausting was the social presence we had to uphold at the conference. It was socially draining, but in the best way possible. I met countless students, representatives from a myriad of journals and presses, and writers of all calibers. Meeting everyone sparked my brain creatively, and I of course left with a haul of books into which I cannot wait to leap. While kind of random, one of the panels I attended also helped me understand the writing industry more and offered insight that has helped me further grasp an idea of what I want to do after I graduate next spring.
Outside of the conference, I took in the sun and warmth and learned more about myself as an individual since this was the first time I had ever traveled a long distance with just myself and two friends. We encountered sketchy iHop employees during a late-night dinner on our drive down to Florida, we utilized Uber for the first time to get around the city, I used Postmates for the first time (which excited me a lot because YouTubers are always talking about Postmates).
Overall, it was an amazing opportunity. I learned so much, and had amazing fun. Next year’s conference is slated to be held in Portland, Oregon, and I hope I am fortunate enough to be able to attend again!
Have you ever been to an AWP conference or a conference of a similar nature? Comment below and tweet us @Fuzzable with your love for everything creative writing!