Lights ! Camera ! Action !
I stared into the camera like a deer in the headlights, frozen and stunned yet knowing that I had to move. I tried to hold my gaze, stay focused, not squint into the blinding blaze of the bulbs, not stumble over my fear of being on the spot. Interviewed! Live! Well, okay, yes it was simply an ipod and the lights were from the ceiling above; this was no television or film set but a vast ballroom in some hotel (okay, so not just any hotel, but that comes later) but I was impressed nonetheless. Think quick, think on one’s feet, something I have not been necessarily good at. But here I was, Denise Vivaldo pressed up against my right shoulder, moral support, whispering encouragement and funny, irreverent things into my ear as I try to channel even a tad of her confidence.
And roll camera “What does IACP mean to you?”
And the words tumbled out. This one needed no thought, no practice.
It all starts with people.
The gathering of friends made on social media, through blogs and emails. The chance for face time, up close and personal; real and intensive time to chat and exchange; time to share meals, ideas and projects. Reinforcing bonds, intensifying friendships, creating new chances to mentor and be mentored.
Connecting, networking, oh-so obvious yet never taken for granted. Always surprising and often unexpected. Meetings with editors, authors, respected and knowledgeable, willing to reach out and advise, offer guidance and brainstorm ideas. And those heavenly, magical offers of help. Yes, those were spilled into my upturned palms generously, sweet sugarplums gratefully and graciously accepted with excitement and wonder.
IT'S ALL ABOUT LEARNING!
IACP conferences are a wealth of information. Sessions and workshops on so many topics, pick and choose. Splendid writing workshops with the startling Crescent Dragonwagon and the beautiful Kathleen Flinn, both workshops were – fun - and invigorating and inspirational. Kathleen and Crescent’s words and the workshop exercises have had a profound effect on me both as a writer and a writing instructor, teaching me new ways to look at my work and move forward as well as giving me knew ideas for my own workshops. There is always something to learn, somewhere to go.
Pitch Perfect and Freelance Mix Master with Dana Bowen formerly of Saveur and presently Everyday With Rachel Ray, Nancy Wall Hopkins of Better Homes & Gardens, Joe Yonan of the Washington Post, Faith Durand of The Kitchn. A Late-Night Finance Bootcamp for Freelancers with my friend Renee Schettler Rossi of Leite’s (and freelancer) and Jess Thomson. Is there a freelancer who doesn’t need this? Understanding one’s worth, knowing how to ask and negotiate?
IT'S ALL ABOUT PUTTING ONESELF FORWARD!
And I speak! Ilva and I hosted our own Experts Are In session (joined by Cameron Stauch). Strategies For Expats drew more than just expats and stimulated a great follow-up discussion. We learn from each other.
Jamie and Ilva
IT'S ALL ABOUT CONNECTING!
We ate and drank and partied and talked: wine, oysters and clams with Nancy Baggett, Robin Ove and Ilva; brunch at an all-American diner with Denise Woodward and Ilva!!; a beautiful street tour followed by dinner with Sean Timberlake (and Ilva, of course) and Sean’s delightful husband, Paul; a perfect morning and lunch at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market with Dianne Jacob (photos to come); party at the Ferry Building with Denise Vivaldo (the girl to party with!) and Heather Gill; breakfast with Grace Young, Nancie McDermott, Jill O’Conner and Ilva as well as a decadent brunch at Craftsman and Wolves with Nancie, Jill and Liz Tarpy; lunch and a “talk” with marvelous Kathleen Flinn; girltime and chatting (never enough time) with Jeanne Ambrose, Renee Schettler, Sarah James; dinner with Ilva, Kate, Robin, fab Judith Klinger (mini P2P reunion), Jeff and Monika; luxury breakfast every morning in the Regency Club and an ongoing slumber party with Ilva, Robin and wild Kate McDermott (with a hug every day from Jeff Albucher). And wonderful chats with generous Bill Leblond, Dana Bowen and Nancy Wall Hopkins. Not to forget a fabulous surprise visit with Hilda Saffari and newborn Timojin! And getting to know Shauna Ahern and Elise Bauer just a little bit better. A heartfelt thank you to each and every one; you each made my conference an incredible and fruitful experience.
Ilva, Jamie and Denise
Jill, Nancie, Jamie, Ilva and Grace
Jamie and Denise
Renee, Jeanne, Sarah and Jamie
Jamie, Robin and Jeff
Jill, Jamie and Nancie
And at the end of the conference, I found myself at the San Francisco airport waiting for my plane to Florida after an adventurous ride on the BART with Ilva followed by hangout time, ticking off all of the astonishing events and memorable connections from a much-too brief conference. But news of freelance gigs and book projects will be left for a later blog post.
Robin, Ilva, Kate and Jamie in California!
You can also read about last year’s IACP Conference New York City with my tips on how to turn an overwhelming event such as this into a success!
Thank you, Ilva. Xo
Look at these two photos:
What film was shot in the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Hotel where the IACP conference was held? (Ilva and I noticed right away and were very excited!). Hint: we almost ended up at the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous.