A HippoCamp Pre-Orientation Part 2

book fair people looking at tableGetting ready for HippoCamp 2016? While you’re making you’re preparations for this year’s conference, we wanted to share a few more comments from our returning HippoCamp’ers. These writers enjoyed our 2015 conference and couldn’t wait to tell us how excited they are to return to Lancaster this summer.


Debra Eder

I didn’t know anyone before I attended the inaugural HippoCamp. I had no set expectations and nothing to promote.  For a change, I wasn’t questioning whether or not I can “call myself a writer”;  I had just started drafting an essay. I sought connection and the inspiration to continue writing AFTER the conference. I also held close “a blow out the candles wish” that recently came true…

Social media helped me to break the ice.  I followed everyone who was tweeting pre- and on-site and spoke to them if I recognized their name from Twitter!  An online community developed– attendees were holding a real-time conversation that augmented the conference experience. Also, tweeting created a record of the comments that particularly inspired me during the sessions.

I came to Lancaster one day early and joined the casual meetup (aka beer and nachos) at Tellus360 with Donna Talarico & her husband, Kevin Beerman. I felt like I was with the “In crowd”. Guess what? Everyone’s welcome!

I bought books and had them signed; shared meals and drinks with speakers and regular folk like me.

Post-HippoCamp, the experience sustained my motivation to continue writing the essay I’d started prior to the conference.  Slow-going, Cristina’s World was “chaos in progress” when Hippocampus Magazine announced its theme issue “Firsts”. I kicked ass to complete it by the deadline and the blind submission was accepted!  My “blow out the candles wish”  — to be published in Hippocampus Magazine.

I hope to approach this year’s experience with the same openness I brought to the inaugural conference. I don’t want to compare one to the other…


Meryl Baer

I lived in Lancaster 30+ years, have lots of friends in the area, and am always interested in what is happening in the city–specifically progress in becoming a go-to place for dining, shopping, etc. I was intrigued by the conference information, and contacted a writing friend of mine who lives in Las Vegas. We coordinated schedules and attended the conference together.

We both had a great time – meeting other writers, making new contacts, learning, listening, don’t forget the food – immersed for a couple of days in our passion.

Attending workshops run by professionals, hearing their stories, absorbing their expertise, was powerful to one not trained in writing and with limited knowledge of the literary profession and writing world. I came away with specific information to help me write and promote my work as well as renewed enthusiasm.

My girlfriend will miss this year’s conference, but I will attend. I am looking forward to educational workshops, meeting and connecting with professionals as well as people like myself – writers and bloggers getting some work accepted and published, attempting to make our way in an ever-changing, dynamic, sometimes confusing writing community.

My suggestion for first-time attendees – stretch yourself and attend workshops on topics unfamiliar and which may not initially interest you. The conference is a great way to introduce yourself to ideas you otherwise would ignore, dismiss, forget about and otherwise assume is not relevant. You may be surprised…


Vicki Gabow

My experience at HippoCamp last year was amazing from start to finish; every session I attended gave me opportunities to learn and grow as a writer. My experience last year at HippoCamp gave me the courage to begin submitting my writing to various literary magazines.

This year, I’m looking forward to building on my skills, and I can’t wait to hear Mary Karr speak. I’m also excited about the breakout sessions; there’s such a variety of interesting topics to choose from! HippoCamp provides a fantastic opportunity to connect with other writers and learn directly from people in the business.

If you’re attending the conference for the first time, come prepared to have fun and grow in your craft and don’t forget the evening readings!

I’m looking forward to another outstanding conference again this year.


HippoCamp 2016 kicks off in just a few days and we don’t want you to miss one second of the camaraderie, the craft classes and panels, the keynotes, the food, and–let’s be honest–the fun! Register for HippoCamp 2016 while you still can.