Good Problems: A Reflection on Jot

jot_josh_1Last Friday, my writer’s group put on the 3rd Jot Conference, and for all the positive feedback we received, we also had some problems. But they were good problems to have.

The main complaint we heard was about parking. Jot is held at Baker Book House, my place of work, so I am able to hold the conference there free of charge. The building was just remodeled and the event space within is beautiful. jot_tracy_1Plus, what better surroundings could writers ask for than a bookstore? But while the inside of the building is quite nice, the outside doesn’t have quite enough parking to accommodate the growing crowd of Jot attendees.

You see, Jot is getting bigger. Our first event, we had about 60 people attend. Our second event, the number was around 70. This time, Andrew Rogers counted over 80 people in attendance. And amazingly, around 30% off the audience had never attended a previous Jot Conference. jot_susie_1We are a bit overwhelmed by the response of the writing community in West Michigan.

But what do we do about our growing numbers and the problems that can cause?

If we move the conference to somewhere larger, we would likely have to pay for the event space. And as Jot is a free conference, we are loath to do anything that might raise our costs.

Ijot_chad_1f we keep it at Baker, we’ll have to get creative when it comes to parking solutions. Do we rent a shuttle van for attendees? Do we ask people to carpool with other writers? Do we cap the number of people allowed to come?

When I met with my writer’s group, The Weaklings, to discuss these things, jot_thomas_1we all agreed that something will have to change before Jot 4 (tentatively scheduled for September 2014). We’re looking at options, but I’d love to hear some feedback from you. How can we continue to grow Jot so that every aspect of the conference goes better? Should we have an opportunity for people to offer donations? Should we charge? Should we do a Kickstarter campaign?

Anyway, I thought Jot 3 went really well. The content was great. The turnout was great. And I can’t wait for the next one! How about you?