Monday, September 10, 2007

Workshops and conferences

I've registered for the Donald Maass workship taking place in October, outside of Seattle. I chose that over the Emerald City Conference because I had heard his workshops have completely turned so many people's writing around. Don't get me wrong, I loved Emerald City last year when I went - I just feel that where I'm at right now, the Maass workshop may inspire me more.

Then there's our fantabulous chapter workshop happening next month, which I'll definitely be attending! Plus there's a bunch of other conferences, meetings and events happening with writing groups all over the Western U.S.

How do you pick and choose which events will benefit you most? Do you choose events based on the content, the networking, or the locale you visit? What events do you recommend? It's hard to make such a financial and time committment to something we've never been before. I find that recommendations are a good way to know what's worthwhile. So, please, share your experiences!

I've only been to Emerald City once, but I'm definitely glad I went. I found the most beneficial part about it was the networking and meeting Northwest authors. It was also the first time I pitched and editor and agent, and the more intimate feel of the conference made that experience much better. I felt the two individuals I pitched were more approachable in this environment, both before and after the group pitch sessions.


Paty Jager said...

Okay, I wrote a great big long comment and when I previewed and went to fix something it disappeared! ARGH!!!!

So in a nut shell. I've been to Emerald City and think it's a nice cozy atmosphere to network and learn about writing and the business. But I'm not going this year because we will just be returning from Alaska.

I like Nationals because I met more authors and had a chance to watch and peruse more editors and agents.

I wish my first comments hadn't been lost, but I don't have time to write it all again.

Great post, Lisa!

Lisa Pulliam said...

I feel your pain, Paty! That drives me bonkers with Blogger. It was even worse before their autosave option when posting to the blog. I remember spending over an hour once on a post about PR, and I clicked 'publish' and it went away. Now I copy the text before I publish, just in case. But I always forget to do that with comments. Thanks for posting another one anyway! :) Cozy is a great word for Emerald City, I like that. It's cozy and professional, very comfortable environment.

Karen Duvall said...

I've attended Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel workshop and think it's fabulous! It's very hands on so bring whatever you're working on with you. If you've read the book and love it, this will be even better. Though I have to say Maass isn't for everyone. I've heard some folks complain that they just "didn't get it." I don't know what's not to get, but whatever.

I've never been to Emerald City's conference, but maybe some day. It comes too close after The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold. But you're right about the smaller conferences feeling more cozy. That's one reason I've avoided attending nationals, but I may break down and go to SF next year. Still thinking about it. Hmmm...

I think you pick a conference based on what you're looking to get out of it. I don't get as much out of the workshops as I used to, so I look for workshops that go beyond craft and are more specific to my writing interests. I also choose those conferences where there's a good line-up of editors and agents who interest me.

I'd really like to attend the New Jersey chapter conference some day because I know they get lots of the NY editors and agents at that one. Plus my oldest niece lives there. 8^) So yeah, location plays a role in my decisions sometimes.

One of my favorite things about the Colorado Gold conference is the diversity of topics covered there because all commercial fiction genres are represented. I get a bit burned out on the romance angle, so change is good. Plus, they offer special workshops of 8 people to one editor or agent who's already read your work, and then you spend 2 1/2 hours workshopping it. That kind of feedback is priceless.

Conferences are expensive, but they're tax deductible and I really need the deductions. I intend to explore more conferences in the future. I really enjoyed the Pacific Northwest conference in Seattle, so I hope to go again next year.

wavybrains said...

I liked nationals in Reno, but I found it overwhelming at the same time. I'd like to go to San Franscisco, but I'd also like to go to PNWA and/or Emerald City.

Great blog and great question! I wish there were easier answers or unlimited money/time for conferences. :)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

I would love to go to Emerald City, but at this point, I can't afford more than one conference per year. When I sell, I'll look at doing more, but right now I can't justify the time away from the family and the expense. For me it's not just about going away and learning, it's finding babysitters, arranging schedules, paying others to do my job when I'm not even getting paid myself.

I hope you have a great time at Donald Maass. Be sure to take good notes so you can fill the rest of us in on what you learned!

Kathy Holmes said...

I came so close to attending Donald Maas' workshop when he was going to be in Orlando - a hurricane threat canceled the conference. I didn't realize he was going to be in the NW. But if I'm going to go to a conference at this point, it'll be RWA in SF next year. Can't wait to hear about your experience, though.

Genene said...

Hi, Lisa!

I'm signed up for the Maass conference also, so I'll see you there!

Looks like 2008 will be a conference attending year for me. Plus I'll have books to promote, so that will be a bonus.

I have a lot of conferences on my schedule for next year (plus our October workshop this year and beach retreat in February). I plan to go to the EPICcon in Portland in March (focusing on e-books); Desert Dreams in Arizona in April (I've been to this one before and loved it, plus I have a friend near Phoenix so can catch up with her); the Portland Readers Luncheon in April (they'll just have to schedule my grandson's birthday party around it!); maybe a Boise conference in June; Nationals in San Francisco in July/August; Emerald City for the first time in October ... whew!

I love the networking and meeting new people as well as people I may have only "met" on loops and online classes. Plus I'm a workshop junkie. This year, these conferences will also be promotional opportunities for my books, so that will be a new experience.

Now ... back to my WIP!