Are you looking for a good excuse to block yourself off for a few days? Spend time writing, workshopping, reading? Have you thought of going to a Writer’s Conference?
Writers Conferences are opportunities for writers to meet up with others who share their passions. It is a time to work with professional and published writers. Most of the time, these conferences are hosted by Universities and MFA programs who want to see amateur writers flourish.
Personally, I work for the Indiana Writer’s Conference. My position as an undergrad intern is exciting to me as I consider MFA programs of my own and careers in arts administration. It also means that I now know a good amount about what to look for in your next conference. Let’s check it out!
To get a full picture of the writer’s conferences available to you, check out the AWP website. AWP or Association of Writers and Writing Programs, has a table of contents for all the reputable writers conferences. AWP also has resources for writing contests/competitions and submission opportunities; plus, AWP hosts its own conference that MFA programs and literary journals attend every year.
A few key aspects to look for in all your writer’s conferences:
- One of the most important opportunities at a conference is the workshops. These workshops normally ask that the writers submit their workshop pieces weeks in advance of the conference. In a workshop, writers discuss each others work (both pros and cons) plus the pieces are read by the professional/published writers who are leading them.
- Along with workshops, classes are an essential to the conference experience. Classes will be lead by professional writers just like the workshops, but they are focused on learning new revision techniques and crafts of fiction or poetry. Some conferences host classes in a wide variety of genres including: fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, screen plays etc. Classes are typically larger sizes than workshops, but that can vary by conference
- While learning from the published writers is an amazing opportunity, it is also valuable to hear from these writers. Good conferences will host readings by their published writers teaching classes. These readings can be open to the public as well, so if there is a writers conference going on near you, it is possible to check these out. Or, if you are just a passionate bookworm, these readings are great opportunities to meet your favorite writers.
Unfortunately writer’s conferences are not cheap. Some run nearly $1000 for the long weekend of writing paradise. However, scholarships should be available at most conferences. Check out all the opportunities, including the option to get college credit for attending these conferences.
Go to AWP for a full list of conferences, and maybe I’ll see you there some weekend!