I finished my two-day class called “Creative Writing for Teachers who would Like to Write” yesterday. I think it went well. I sent them this letter to the teachers today to give them some suggestions for what they can do for themselves as writers on their own (besides reading, reading, reading and writing, writing, writing).
We talked a little about outside resources for writers that can help you on your journey, so I thought I could send you some specifics.
The first is writing workshops or writing retreats and conferences. A workshop would be where you meet up with other writers to share and critique each others work. A retreat is sort of like a writer’s vacation where you go to write in the company of other writers. A conference is more educational in its nature where there will be presentations during the day related to writing and/or publishing, but, depending on the conference, there can be opportunities for a professional critique of your manuscript or a chance to pitch a project to an editor.
I go to the Rainforest Writers Retreat in Washington each year. It’s easily the best five days of writing I get. It sells out quickly, but there are many other writing retreats all over the country. I also attend two or three conferences a year. Because I write science fiction, fantasy and horror, I go to conferences that focus on those genres. In the last year, I attended the World Science Fiction Convention that was in Kansas City, and MileHiCon in Denver. I will go to the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio in early November.
I don’t think I can encourage you to look into attending a retreat, workshop or conference more strongly. It would be something you are doing to both acknowledge and feed your commitment to yourself as a writer.
You might also consider looking for or forming your own writers’ critique group. You can see guidelines here: http://writersrelief.com/blog/2014/09/start-writers-group-set-success/
Retreats and Conferences:
A list of well-respected writing retreats around the world: https://thewritelife.com/writing-retreats/
Colorado writing retreats and conferences: http://writing.shawguides.com/Tag/colorado
Another way you can help yourself is to join a writing organization. The Grand Junction area has two that I can recommend. The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (http://rmfw.org/) and the Western Colorado Writers Forum (http://westerncoloradowriters.org/index.html). Both organize events for writers, including presentations, contests, critique groups, etc.
There are also national writing organizations that might interest you (http://writersrelief.com/writers-associations-organizations/)
If you are interested in writing for publication and are looking for markets for your work, one of the best resources is at https://duotrope.com/. They describe themselves this way: “Duotrope is a subscription-based service for writers and artists that offers an extensive, searchable database of current fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art markets, a calendar of upcoming deadlines, a personal submissions tracker, and useful statistics compiled from the millions of data points we’ve gathered on the publishers we list. We have been honored as one of Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers. Also, Preditors & Editors selected us for their Truly Useful Site Award.”
I hope this helps. Have a good summer and may all your words flow easily.
Jim Van Pelt