Meetings can be the bane of a writer’s existence. Or, they can actually help.
I was privileged to experience the latter kind of meeting recently, just after our last International Living conference in Panama.
Several of the managing editors of various International Living publications took advantage of Panama’s central location to call a meeting of our regular in-country editors and correspondents. The result was about two dozen professional writers and editors brainstorming for two full days about story ideas, writing techniques, audio and video production, and assignment and deadline management.
This all sounds pretty dry and mundane, but for a far-flung bunch like us, it was wonderfully refreshing.
The first and most important thing we all learned was what a bunch of professionals we have. Lots of us had deep backgrounds in travel writing, journalism, technical writing, and business-to-business marketing writing before making our own journeys abroad and writing for International Living.
A few of us were doing things in our lives totally unrelated to writing, but those things involved life- and world-experience aplenty. Sailors, pilots, tour operators, international real estate specialists, NGO and disaster relief workers, and world travelers and adventurers have all written for International Living, and they were well represented around our meeting table as well.
And we were all there for one reason—to come up with the best possible stories, the best possible ways of telling them, and the best possible techniques for uncovering and documenting the most important and telling details of moving, living, working, and retiring abroad.
That’s our job, and we all know it and do it to the best of our ability. But having two uninterrupted days of in-person networking time to share hard-won tips and tricks garnered from the on-the-ground, real-life experience of colleagues from all over the world was inspiring.
The object, of course, is to make the content of International Living publications the best it can possibly be. Judging by how much information and inspiration flew back and forth during those two days, I expect the results will be showing up in the stories, interviews, and personal profiles you’ll be reading almost instantly.
So if you’re reading this right now, I think you’re going to be even happier with what you see from almost every corner of the International Living world in the days and weeks to come.
Some mighty inspired and excited writers and editors flew out of Panama and returned to their own countries and communities around the world with entire tool kits of new writing ideas and strategies.
I’m betting the stories that will be coming back from those places in the near future are going to be extraordinary. Stay tuned…
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