Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Room Full of Ideas

Years ago Elizabeth Sherrill spoke at a class which I attended and told us, "Writers are swimming in a sea of ideas." It's true there are many ideas around us all the time but which ideas do you execute? Is there some idea which crosses your mind or path which ends up becoming significant in your Writing Life? I've had these ideas become significant in my writing life over and over. It's one of the reasons I continue to attend conferences and meet new people.

Over the last few days, I've been writing about some of my experiences in New York City for the American Society of Journalists and Authors Conference. I hope writing about these experiences will stimulate some of you to come to this conference next year or take advantage of attending at least one conference a year. These experiences build deep value into my own writing and much more than I can capture in these brief entries. Notice whether you went to this conference or not, you can get the recordings from it and gain from the experience.

One of the unusual features of the ASJA conference is a room called The Idea Marketplace. It started a few years ago when some vendors wanted to be able to pitch the hundreds of journalists who attend the conference.

I've found great value in this room full of ideas. Each year it is different (follow this link to see the list from last week). I've learned it's important to enter the room as early as possible and catch the various people while they are fresh and see what they are pitching. For example, this year Consumer Reports was a new exhibitor and brought some of their magazines along with a few flash drives which are marked on the outside, "Consumer Reports.org." This little storage device will remind me of my brief interaction with these people.

Each table had some literature and often some unique reminder of their company. The American Kennel Club had a plastic notched rolodex card with the shape of a dog sticking up. Blumenfeld and Associates were giving away bottles of water from Iceland (I'm serious). Other groups were set up to provide sources for health-related stories or other resources.

You never know what can come from some of these exchanges. I'm glad to have had the experience and hope it encourages you to make the effort to get to such an event.

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1 Comment:

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Amy Wyatt Left a note...

It sounds like your trip was very productive and you managed to squeeze in some fun too. I've just gotten a chance to catch up on your recent posts as we have been in Chicago at the American Academy of Neurology meeting. My son Spencer is going to receive a seizure response dog from Canine Assistants and UCB Pharma. We are very excited. I can't wait to read the information from the blogging panel you participated in. Glad your trip went well.


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