Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In Which I Shamlessly Promote an Awesome Conference

I sometimes get emails from readers, and this totally makes my day. Often, one of the questions in those emails is, "I'd like to attend a writer's conference, but I don't know how to find out about one. Where can I learn about awesome writers' conferences?"

Well today, you can learn about one right here on my blog.

If you've been following me for awhile, you might remember back in January when I attended the Eckerd College Writer's Conference in St. Petersburg, FL. I had a bunch of posts about what I learned, including:
And all of those lectures (plus the others I attended, including some on agents and publishing) were awesome. But absolutely the most valuable thing I got out of the conference was the afternoon workshop session. 

See, this is how ECWC works. It's a week-long conference focused on craft. In the morning, there are lectures. In the afternoon, you head into breakout sessions divided by genre. (Then in the evening there are readings and signings with wine and cheese. Srsly. AWESOME.) There are about 10 people in each group, and it's basically a critique group where you get and give feedback on your WIP. I learned so much that my head wanted to EXPLODE. I credit ECWC with being the first time that I got feedback that sent my story in a whole new direction. The revisions I did based on my ECWC crits were the first time I looked at my WIP and said, "Uhm, wow. This is almost good."

The experience was invaluable, the people were awesome. They have workshops in poetry, novel, short story, memoir, the middle of your novel (meaning you bring the middle part of your book, not the beginning), and!!!! For the first time EVER they're starting a YA/MG workshop!!! (Last year I just twiddled my thumbs with the Big Kids, but they were still nice to me.)

This will be epic, people. EPIC.

And I have to miss it, because it coincides with the last three days of my very first MFA residency. LAME. (OK, not that lame, because I am WAY pumped about VCFA. But I am a total dork and wish I could do both. My ideal life would be like some sort of writing conference nomad.)

BUT! Here's the good news, dear readers. YOU don't have to miss it! YOU should go. Oh yes, you should. Applications are available NOW! You can come to sunny St. Pete, FL in JANUARY, and it will be warm and you can visit the beach on the day off! (Because the conference is a week long, they give you a day off. They're nice like that. And the college is about, oh, 5 minutes from the beach? One of the optional activities is even a boat ride. A BOAT RIDE. WITH FAMOUS AUTHORS.) The price seems high at first, BUT they offer generous scholarships, and last year they said many of the people there were on scholarship, so don't let the cost stop you. Plus it's a week long so the cost is justified. So just apply. Go. Trust me. If you're looking for a great conference focused on craft (not schmoozing with industry professionals), this is a great one for you.

Plus, if you are awesome and nice, I will probably come and visit you in St. Pete, because it's only like 20 minutes from my house.

OK, that's all. I'll stop now. And I promise that I am in no way affiliated with ECWC and am not getting paid for this post. I'm just a happy alum who wishes she could go back and SO wants someone to blog all about the YA workshop so she can live vicariously through you.

EDITED: To add that the dates of the conference are Jan. 15 - 23, 2011. I was so excited I forgot to include dates. Oops. 


  1. My ears perked up when you said Florida... then I saw January. If I can afford a conference I think it'll probably be the SCBWI regional and if I could afford two a year (not even sure I can afford one, but I'm hopeful, anyway) in the same month would be woah... But hey if St. Pete isn't too far, would you visit Miami, too? :-D

  2. Haha, Miami is like 8 hours! But I've been thinking about either the Miami Book Festival or maybe the SCBWI regional (though if I did either regional I'd probably do the one in Orlando since it's so much closer and I have family there I could crash with.)

    If just one person ends up applying for the conference because of this post, I'll be stoked! If you're looking for something to improve your craft and get great feedback on your pages (including some from your workshop leader, who is always a published author), this is perfect.

  3. Wow - that IS awesome! I so wish I could go, but - school ):. I hate school haha. I hope you have a ton of fun! <3


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