The Writing Life

Most writers know that writing is a solitary activity. On the one hand, when I write I need as few distractions as possible to get my thoughts in order, to hear the muse speak to me, and to block obstacles to creativity. (Well, maybe a little music.) On the other hand, I also need to participate in activities that will stimulate me, enhance my knowledge of my chosen field, and broaden my experience as a writer. That’s why I find occasionally attending workshops, conferences and participating in book festivals so stimulating. I get to network with other writers, professional and non-professional, exchange information, get feedback, and learn ways of marketing, and in addition, sell books if I’m lucky.

Retreats – provide ideal places to write. Poets and Writers list retreats, also Artists and Writers Colonies by Gail Hellund Bowler list retreats, residences and respites for the creative mind. I haven’t attended one yet but I have friends who have and their response has been encouraging.

Workshops and Seminars – learn ways to improve ones writing and expand knowledge as well as get answers to writing questions and maybe get feedback on writing projects. I facilitate a creative writing class at my local senior center and have taken classes in mystery writing and creative non-fiction at the community college in my area.

Book Festivals – See what others are doing to promote their books, participate in panel discussions and maybe get to recite a poem or two. Most importantly, meet the public as well as network with other authors. I recommend new authors attend at least one book festival. You might start out by attending one, not as a vendor but as part of the public. I’ve been a vendor at several book festivals; most recently, the Leimert Park Book Festival in L.A. Some may be rather expensive such as the L.A. Times Book Festival; however, going in with a few other authors can cut down on the expense.

Conferences – Network with other professionals and non-professionals. Learn current trends. Experience other genres. A few years ago I attended the AWP Associated Writers Program held in Vancouver. It was fantastic. I took in as many workshops and panel discussions in all genres as I could. I have also been to the Black Writers Online Reunion and Conference. There I had part of my manuscript read and received vital feedback. I learned tips on writing query letters, promoting and marketing my work.

Going to writers and artists’ retreats, attending workshops and seminars, participating in book festivals, and/or attending conferences can provide encouragement to a new writer and reenergize an experienced one.

2 Replies to “The Writing Life”

  1. September 2013. Our Curators are busily programming an exciting and varied line up of authors, workshops and events for you. Keep up to date on our Facebook and Twitter as our plans unfold for Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival 2013.

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