Although I'd rather sit and revel in my vacation, there are squiggles in my calendar that say I have to do stuff. So it's time I get to it.
First on my list is the Southern California Writers Conference (http://writersconference.com/la/), where I'll be teaching an introductory workshop about self-publishing. The focus of the workshop is for those folks on the fence, wondering whether they should take that step. I can't give anyone a magic formula, you know, "if X is True and Y is False, Then Publish." What I can give people is a list of questions to ask themselves and an accounting of what I've had to do.
My hope is that people come away with the ability to make an informed decision.
I love this conference because I consider it a friendly, working conference. I will confess, I haven't been to a lot of other conferences, but the few others I've been to have not tapped into that desire within me to go home and write. SCWC inspires me, goads me, takes me by the reins and gallops me toward finishing my next project.
If you like lists, here is my list of why I like the Southern California Writers Conference:
1. The people are friendly and supportive. You can walk into any workshop, sit down at a table and make 5 or 6 friends. And most of them are friends who will continue to be your friends, post-conference.
2. The workshops give you useful information, whether about the craft of writing or the business of publishing. And if they don't - they encourage you to try another workshop. The rule is that if you get into a workshop and it's not what you expected, you should go to another workshop. You paid for this weekend. You shouldn't feel like any time was wasted.
3. Their "Read and Critique" and "Rogue Sessions" are fabulous. Both of these workshops work the same way: you read some number of pages of your work and get feedback on your writing. The difference between the two is that the Rogue Sessions occur after the evening speaker, starting around 9 p.m. and go until everyone has read. Sometimes they last until 6 a.m. the next morning! The facilitators ensure that the critiques are controlled and remain positive and focused on the work. They really taught me the correct way to run a critique group. Read their rules (http://writersconference.com/la/faq/) and see if you don't agree.
4. The organizers care about whether your conference experience was a good one. They want you to get your money's worth. They are willing to listen to suggestions for future workshops. Michael and Wes want to give you value for your money and time. Read this as proof:
(From the website) - NOTE: Agents wanting to participate contact Michael Steven Gregory only if you're accepting clients. There are plenty of other conferences that provide reps who have no sincere intent of acquiring new clients with free weekends at nice hotels in desirable locales. The SCWC is not one of them.
Here is my one caveat for attending this conference: if you are a very, very serious writer who is intense about your writing experience and general literary discussions, this may not be your conference. We work hard and we play hard. We joke a lot. We're irreverent sometimes. But if you can take a joke or two, if you can hope to achieve our conference goal of "sucking less than you did before you came" then please join us.
Hope to see you in Newport Beach. If not, they have another one in San Diego in February (http://writersconference.com/sd/).