Telling Your Story, Selling Your Story


There you go! Life becomes lovable when one’s wishes come true. If they materialize sooner, the better.  When I left St. Petersburg, Florida in March this year, I said, “dude, I’ll one day come back to this place in my life time.” I had loved this calm town more than any other town in the US when I had arrived as a delegate in State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) .

I visited St. Petersburg once again on December 9th to participate in the National Writers’ Workshop with the theme of  Telling Your Story, Selling Your Story. The Poynter Institute was organizing the event for writers, journalists and media students in order to improve their writing skills. In addition, another important aspect of the workshop was to provide tips to the participants how to sell their stories while pitching story/ book ideas to editors, publishers.

As a Hubert Humphrey Fellow, I get a professional development fund to attend such learning experiences. So, I thought of getting enrolled in the course.

After a slightly long but comfortable trip, I arrived in St. Petersburg where I checked in Courtyard Marriott.  The workshop began on the same day at 6:00 p.m. The best thing about the hotel was it provided free shuttle service which enables its guests to stop worrying about catching a cab. Thus, the shuttle service dropped me at the Poynter.

Th next three days were an awesome learning experience. Some of the impressive instructors were Roy Peter Clark of Poynter, Pulitzer Prize winners Thomas French and Lane DeGregory.

I met a lot of interesting people during the conference in which we also shared our story ideas with the fellow participants.  All of us discussed the stories of our lives which we wanted to work on and we thought we could narrate the best.

I met a young girl whose mother was from Karachi and father from South India.  I was impressed to see her interest in her ancestral culture and language. She could barely speak fluent Urdu but said she was striving to learn that language.

On the final day of the workshop, the participants were guided with tips to find agents, editors and publishers.

Last but not the least, if you go to St. Petersburg, don’t miss going to the Moon Under Water, a restaurant that offers more delicious Indian food than what I had even eaten in India. I mean it. I went there both the nights to eat and wished I were hungry for ever so that I could eat more.

Fantastic trip. Got back to Phoenix with a flight via Charlotte.

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