Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Workshops: Not Just For the Un-Published

I recently overheard a writer chatting to a friend about how one day when they get published, they won't have to attend all these conferences and workshops anymore.  To say that I didn't have this same thought when I first started writing would be lying.  I remember my first conference as a fantastic affair.  Still, you feel like a little fish in a very, very big pond especially when your value is rated by the word "published" in front of "writer".  I fathomed that once one reached the level of "published", it meant you should be the one lecturing at speaking engagements and not sitting in the audience engaging the speakers. 

But from these conferences and workshops, I grew to know many great writers, some published, some not who continue to attend these functions not just to meet publishers but to keep their skills fresh and to gleam ideas and perspectives they might otherwise miss holed up in their offices typing away. 

Duncan Conference Center
Novel Gurus Weekend Retreat
Duncan Conference Center
Workshops are especially helpful to published writers looking to write in a different age category or genre.  Where a writer's work may be stellar in middle grade, they may need new tricks of the trade and a fresh perspective to add spice to their foray into YA.

The last conference that I went to was SCBWI's LA conference which was a great event with round the clock speakers, activities and meet ups with old friends and new.  But the ones that really hit home for me, that I learned the most from as a writer were the more intimate workshops and smaller affairs.  The ones that offered opportunities for on the spot critique groups and small group presentations and work sessions. 

Which is why I'm very excited about two upcoming events. The first is Free Expressions Your Best Book workshop which is taking place in Charlotte, North Carolina starting this Friday.  This workshop offers an intimate setting for a small group of writers to learn from each other, to focus on their craft and projects and to meet with and listen to top agents, publishers and writers....for a week!  

The second is the Novel Gurus Weekend Retreat to be held in Delray Beach, Florida, March 1-3, 2013 where you get the opportunity to spend the weekend with two top publishers and freelance editor extraordinaire Lorin Oberweger.  The best part about this?  There's only room for 20 attendees!

Not everyone can afford to or have the luxury of attending all these workshop opportunities but for those who are published and think these aren't for them, I would say, think again, you just might find that it's more beneficial than you think. 

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