Another Pikes Peak Writers Conference is in the books. More than 350 people gathered in a newly remodeled Marriott for a spectacular weekend of learning, networking, growing and dreaming. Attendees came from near and far to grow as writers. Faculty members visited from all over the nation to help attendees with their aspirations. All in attendance weathered the storm, a famous Colorado April Blizzard, as they dared to dream.
The weekend was filled with many PPWC traditions: the Thursday Prequel and its intense three hour workshops; Read & Critique appointments; Query 1-on-1 appointments, with an extended ten minutes to meet with agents and editors. Due to the venue remodel, we explored some new rooms for different programs. (Sorry, Query folks, the sauna was not intentional.) We also tried some new things, including special yoga stretch sessions.
The Annual Zebulon Awards banquet was a huge success. Congratulations to ALL the contest winners. Kudos to everyone who had the courage to enter. Thank you to all the judges, especially the VIPs, who helped discover the winning entries. Also, a very excited and proud congrats to Karen Fox and Donnell Bell, our PPWC and PPW Volunteers of the Year.
Where would our dreams be right now without the encouragement and inspiration delivered by our five keynote speakers? Joe R. Lansdale, Wendy Corsi Staub, Rachel Caine, Jeff Lindsay, and Kevin J. Anderson not only shared their knowledge with us, but gave us hope by sharing their own stories of struggle and heartbreak as they pursued success as authors. They taught us humility by demonstrating that the ride is never smooth, success is never guaranteed, and that nothing comes without hard work and dedication. Most importantly, they showed us the beauty of a dream, and the importance of pursuing it fearlessly.
Along with our keynote speakers, the 2016 conference saw the return of many familiar faces on faculty, many of whom got their start at Pikes Peak Writers Conference as attendees and contest winners. As always, we also invited new members to our faculty. It was a pleasure and an honor to bring in new faces, fresh ideas, and an abundance of creative energy. Thank you to all who took the time to help our attendees chase their dreams.
A dream, no matter what the landscape, is a terrifying thing to pursue. But I promise you it will be one of the most worthwhile things you ever do. There will be highs and lows, successes and failures. But remember, the struggles are as important as anything. They help shape your future as much as the wins. It is all part of the journey. Enjoy that journey, savor every moment. In the end, when you are looking back, the memories you make along the way are what define your success. Dare to Dream, and do it fearlessly. The world needs you to inspire others to pursue their dreams, to give them hope.
It has been an absolute pleasure directing conference this year. Thank you to all the attendees, faculty, and staff who helped make it happen. You are now a part of my journey, of my dream. I plan to look back and smile every chance I get.
Jason P. Henry
2016 Pikes Peak Writers Conference