The summer season is fast approaching and many have already made the decision to attend some type of reader or writing event.
As an aspiring, novice or established writer there is wisdom in seeking to enhance your skill set and/or gain visibility within the reading and writing community. To better understand the value of industry based knowledge one might consider attending a writer’s conference, writer’s retreat, writing workshop, book festival, book club event or reader’s convention.
While most may view these venues as a social event, the majority of them are the valuable tool writers can benefit from attending. They are worthwhile in an ever-evolving industry because most serve multiple purposes. Chief among those purposes is the ability to expose the writer to the world of possibilities they may not have known existed or did not previously have a way of connecting to.
Over the years these once primarily academic events have evolved into a combination of continuing education and memorable social events. To date there are a myriad of options to satisfy a writer's need. However, before you rush to fill out registration and push send, be sure that you understand what it is you need and if the event you’re considering will fill that need. To assist you with your making your decision, brief definitions of various writing events are listed below.
Writer’s Conference – For the most part a writer’s conference provides the attendees with introduction to basics and continuing education as it pertains to the craft of writing and publishing. Those offerings most often are taught in a one-hour classroom setting by industry professionals. There may be many classes offered, and for the preservation of time, they are run simultaneously. It will be up to you to determine which will be the most beneficial for you. At some conferences there is also opportunity to pitch to an agent, editor or publisher representative, receive free books and interact with popular authors. The conference may offer a luncheon and formal dinner, both with a keynote speaker (usually a popular author), and book signing events.
Writer’s Retreat – The writer’s retreat is less formal than the writer’s conference. The retreat offers concentrated instruction in the area of writing in a comfortable and often secluded environment that lends to a sense of fellowship with attendees. The primary focus is to instill a sense of confidence in the writer while teaching foundational skills that will inspire their creativity.
Writing Workshops – Writing workshops are often locally held events hosted by a literary professional. The offerings are usually in the areas of writing basics and editing.
Book Festivals – Book festivals are events that give opportunity to expose the author to a large number of readers. Some festivals offer a main stage/VIP event with headline authors. Author participants can be as few as a dozen tor as many as several hundred.
Book Club Conferences/Conventions – These events often cater to fans of a particular genre, but some have expanded to encompass several genres for a greater impact. The convention offers programs and events that give opportunity for attendees to meet experts in that field, popular personalities and to become a part of the culture for the duration of the convention.
Attending one of the many literary events offered each year can be a memorable and life-changing event. Before registering, be sure to know what it is you want to experience and take away from your investment.
For those who feel that the investment of travel, accommodations and registration fees may be out of their budget—don’t despair. Online conferences may be the perfect option for you.
To find out what writing events are being held online or in physical locations, type your request into your favorite search engine, ask a friend or those in one of your writing groups. You may be surprised at what you might find that will fit your industry and budgetary needs.
Until next time, I encourage you to use your words to bear good fruit!