AWP is the culmination of a writer's loneliness, a type of summit that confirms and yet validates the bifurcated need-community and need-solitude items in a writing life. It was wonderful to engage with fellow writers, meet the people who run lit mags, small presses, and programs, and just see, en masse, how many aspiring writers are out there.
Before I attended AWP, my goals were as follows: "As this is my first time at AWP, what I want out of the conference is to make connections, meet or catch up with people I know, and take in as many generally useful talks and advice as possible." I think I accomplished all of this. It's inspiring to come back to my desk with the resolve to write more, to write what's needed, and to continue on with encouragement.
I write this blog for all of you. I write so that I can stave off that loneliness and connect, and, I hope, let you know how I'm doing. I'm already planning out AWP17 in Washington, DC.