The vast majority of writers who attended the 2012 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop told us they loved it.
The spring workshop garnered higher survey scores than either of the previous two — thanks primarily to a slate of “funny, smart, entertaining” keynote speakers, the Bombeck family involvement through readings of their favorite Erma columns and the quality and variety of workshop sessions.
More than 60 percent (212) of the 350 participants completed an online survey that rated the workshop’s sessions. The workshop received an average 9.09 rating, with that score escalating to 9.23 when participants rated the cost of the workshop versus the value to their careers.
“Truly, this was the best conference I’ve ever been to for writers,” one survey taker wrote. “Not only were the classes very informative, but my smile muscles hurt each night. …And a unique thing at this conference was the overall feeling of warmth and unity I felt throughout with kindred souls who were out to support each other and not compete.”
Participants offered us constructive criticism, too. Some thought the workshop focused too much on blogging. Others suggested that the breakfast roundtable discussions needed moderators. Lots wanted to be able to scan someone’s name tag and see a hometown. The food, depending upon who you asked, was either “wonderful” or “tasteless.”
Nearly everyone agreed on this point: “The desserts rocked.”
Here’s a sampling of comments from the more than two dozen pages of write-in observations:
• I am eternally grateful that the University of Dayton offers this fabulous gathering to honor Erma Bombeck. It is an incredible undertaking and not only honors her legacy but also truly helps writers to connect, learn about the industry and inspire us all to continue on wherever the path leads us. If I never wrote another word, I would want to attend this uplifting and glorious celebration of Erma and all things humorous.
• I loved, loved, loved the introduction to all the new publishing venues and social media opportunities. EBWW 2012 put me right at the forefront of what’s going on in the industry. Plus, I laughed liked crazy for three days. I came home filled with joy.
• I was so moved and touched by the Bombeck family. Having them read Erma’s articles was a stroke of genius.
• The atmosphere was charged, and the people were very lovely and genuine.
• When I came to EBWW in 2010, I had a blog and some dreams. I came to EBWW in 2012 having had several essays published and with a book contract. Did EBWW get me published? No. But did it make me believe I could do it? Absolutely.
Audio recordings of the individual sessions or the complete workshop can be ordered here.
The Bombeck family readings and excerpts from the keynote addresses can be found on the workshop’s YouTube site.
The next Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is slated for April 10-12, 2014.
— Teri Rizvi
Teri Rizvi, associate vice president for University communications at the University of Dayton, founded the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in 2000.