Writing workshops, conferences, and retreats can provide authors with new perspectives and knowledge, facilitate lifelong relationships with other authors, and connect authors with professionals in the publishing world. When deciding which events to attend, be sure to consider your objectives for going (see Part 1 of 3). Last week’s post touched on workshops, and today’s focus is conferences. The format of a conference is usually predicated by the sponsor or organizer of the event, which may be a genre-specific association, such as Romance Writers of America or the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, or a local, regional, or state writers’ association. Conferences may be one day or multiple days, are generally held annually, and are often an assemblage of many different events such as writing workshops, panel discussions, vendor show, manuscript critiques, readings, and author signings. The size and scope of the conference will vary by the resources of the sponsor-organizer and the needs of their group members and attendees. I have attended writers conferences as small as several dozen people and as large as five hundred. Some writing organizations limit participation in their conference to their members, but most do not. As I gathered information for this post, I quickly recognized the enormity of the task of compiling any meaningful list of writers’ conferences. Instead, I offer here a list of organizations that have extensive online compilations already. Some allow you to sort by genre, state, date, and in other ways. Have fun exploring and finding the perfect writing event for you! NewPages.com, which provides news, information, and guides for writers has a conference listing here: http://www.newpages.com/writers-resources/writing-conferences-events The Write Life has a listing of 30 conferences for authors, bloggers, and freelancers: https://thewritelife.com/writers-conferences/ The Association of Writers and Writing Programs has a Directory of Conferences and Centers which includes festivals, retreats, residencies, and writing centers, as well as conferences, and includes national and international events: https://www.awpwriter.org/wcc/directory_conferences_centers Shaw Guides’ 2017 listing of events is here: http://writing.shawguides.com/Events Poets & Writers has a database detailing over 200 conferences, residencies, and literary festivals: http://www.pw.org/conferences_and_residencies Have you been to a writer’s conference? How was that experience for you? Do you have a favorite conference you have been to several times? What conference do you plan to attend in the future?

Gina Edwards is a retreat leader, a certified creativity coach, and a book editor. She is also a writer, so she’s intimately familiar with the challenges and elation that come with being one.

She supports all writers—published and aspiring—who want to write as an act of courageous and necessary self-expression.

Walking the writer’s path hand-in-hand with her clients and students, she helps them establish a writing practice and define a creative life on their own terms.


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