By the time I learned Mary Karr was the keynote for the 2016 HippoCamp conference I was out of travel funds. Over the next few months, online friends raved about the event. So, I registered as soon as the 2017 conference opened for registration. 

 

While I waited, I read their online magazine and marveled at how their essays exemplified the beauty that happens when heart, craft, and truth intersect.

 

In August of 2017, I drove to Lancaster, PA with a fellow student from a Memoir in a Year class. On Friday afternoon, we walked into the Marriott ballroom feeling like outsiders, but by Sunday it was as if we’d spent the weekend with old friends. 

 

As an introvert, the phrase meet-and-greet sends chills up my spine. I attend these social gatherings because they’re essential networking activities, but the feeling I most associate with them is awkward. 

 

I’m not sure whether the potato martini bar or Amish-country vibe set the tone for HippoCamp’s Friday night meet-and-greet, but I know it was my entry into the HippoCamp family.

 

It didn’t matter if you’d just written your first word, or you were the keynote speaker. Everyone was treated like an equal.

 

Since 2017, I’ve attended four HippoCamps. At each one, my creative family has grown. I’ve joyfully watched clients build new connections and strengthen their identities as writers.

 

But it wasn’t until the 2021 HippoCamp Conference that I really understood how essential these events are. So much of our writing lives are spent alone or engaging with other writers online. We are truly blessed to live in a world where other writers are only a click away. But magical things happen when writers gather in person. Spontaneous conversations, collaborations, and riffing occurs. The air fills with creative energy and excitement. It’s a place where new ideas and breakthroughs are born.

 

As I listened to conference breakout sessions, my mind whirred with new ideas, different approaches for my projects, and innovative ways to work with my clients. I left revved up and ready to write.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the angst that comes with attending a conference during a pandemic. Most of us had been holed up in our houses for all of 2020. I and many of my friends had to take more breaks than usual because we hadn’t spent this much time with other people, and well, Delta.

 

Donna Talarico and her team worked diligently to make this a safe, welcoming, and successful conference. I can only imagine the additional hard work she put into organizing this conference and the sacrifices required to ensure its success during a pandemic.

 

Just before leaving the conference, I took socially distant pictures with several friends and risked a few masked hugs, each time saying the same thing: See you next year.

 

We can ensure conferences like HippoCamp are here for years to come by supporting their organizations with our financial gifts. For just $10, you can do that AND win fabulous prizes.

 

Before I started my business, I worked at a nonprofit writing center. I know what happens on the back end. Paying registration fees or subscribing to magazines can give the false impression that conferences are huge moneymakers but breaking even is the actual goal. Organizers know this, and they’re happy with this outcome because they care so deeply about our writing community. The precarious nature of breaking even is the very reason why they need our support.

 

If you’ve attended HippoCamp and you love what they do, I hope you’ll support them, knowing that I’m supporting you by offering opportunities to win books, coaching sessions, and so much more in exchange for your generous donations.

 

If you’ve already joined this week’s campaign, thank you!

 

If you haven’t had a chance, here are a few quick reminders:

 

Make a ten-dollar donation to Hippocampus Literary Magazine and you’ll earn three tickets toward this week’s drawing for a $30 gift card to New Dominion BookshopPLUS one copy of Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to BookThe War of ArtGetting to the Truth: The Craft and Practice of Creative NonfictionDoodling for WritersThe Best of BrevityThe Business of Being a Writer, and a signed copy of My Monticello by Jocelyn Johnson.

 

You’ll also be entered into my grand-prize drawing for a one-year membership to James River Writers, a 3-pack of webinars from The Crow Collective Online Writing Workshops, one Jane Friedman webinar of your choice, a 10-page manuscript review plus one-hour coaching session with me, and a query letter review by Allison K Williams.

Generously donate $100 or more and you’ll get access to a mindful writing class scheduled for early 2022 and a chance to win a storytelling coaching session with Amy Eaton.

Unable to give financially?

 

You can earn one ticket into this week’s drawing and the grand-prize drawing by:

  • Signing up for their newsletter
  • Reading a Hippocampus Magazine story or article, commenting on it, and sharing it with followers on at least one platform.
  • Suggesting a Books by Hippocampus book to a local library, indie bookstore, or to a friend/family member as a holiday gift idea. 
  • Adding a Books by Hippocampus book to the “to-read” section of your Goodreads account. If you’ve read one of their books, write a review for both Amazon AND Goodreads. 

To support Hippocampus Literary Magazine, click here

 

 To enter this week’s drawing, send me an email.

 

Please include the amount of your donation or a screenshot of your donation or social media support. 

Remember, the deadline for entry into this week’s drawing is Monday, December 13, 2021 at 7:00 PM EST. 

 

To learn more about the challenge or how supporting, BrevityJames River Writers, the Crow Collective, or any other literary nonprofit can help you score tickets for this challenge, click here

 

Thank you in advance for your literary citizenship. 

 

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