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On Writers Conferences: “Pen to Published” in Santa Rosa

April 26, 2018

While my own experience is relatively small—limited by geography and budget to local writers conferences with early-bird registration discounts—it leads me to offer this inevitable advice: Find one in your area, sign up, mark your calendar, and attend!

I’ve lately come from the Redwood Writers’ “Pen to Published Conference,” a one-day event held every other April in Santa Rosa CA. This is without a doubt the best bargain you can find. Two keynotes, choice of four half-day workshops or twelve one-hour sessions, breakfast and lunch—a full day that leaves you exhausted and energized all at once.

Exhausted in a good way, from having to focus on this wealth of knowledge and insight from all the presenters, from taking notes and compiling action-item lists, from meeting old friends and making new ones in this dynamic world of self-motivated writers and editors, publishers and poets.

Energized in an even better way. For most of us, our writing craft is a solitary endeavor, wherein we type madly away, eyes focused on the letters magically flowing from our fingertips to computer screen before us. To our friends and families, this obsession is hard to comprehend sometimes. We are isolated, turned inward.

But when we meet, all of us geeks to our craft in one way or another, we have found our community, our place to share this otherwise solitary experience. “I’m not so strange,” I think. “Look at these hundreds of people just like me. . . .”

It’s the community more than anything else that means so much to me. But right after that, it’s the insights that come from professional presentations on craft, genre, publishing, marketing and all the rest.

Keep an eye out for the next conference in your area. Make a point of attending. Go with a head full of high expectations, and come away having them fulfilled.

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