Back To School – The Writer Way

MP900341507I feel like there’s been a theme going on here at Magical Musings, and it hasn’t been by design.  Michelle began it last week with her post on Writer and Reader Events.  Then Marilyn posted on Friday about Teachers Who Make a Lifelong Difference. Yesterday, we heard from Liz that she’d Rather Be Reading (and wishing you a quick recovery, m’dear!).

It all boils down to the fact that writers are always seeking ways to improve their craft, find new, innovative story ideas or new ways of telling the accepted tropes. This past weekend, I attended the New England Chapter RWA “Let Your Imagination Take Flight” conference in Burlington, MA.  It was my first conference in 18 months, and it was amazing.

First, there’s the chance to catch up with fellow writers and learn what everyone is working on. It was fun to catch up with Wendy S. Marcus and to meet Stephanie Queen in person for the first time.  Marie Force was there, generous with her time and knowledge as always.

Second, there are always free books for the attendees.  So I’ve refurbished my TBR pile with new titles by Julia Quinn, Terri Brisbin, Caroline Linden and Zoe Archer.  What’s not to love about that?

Third, there are inspirational keynote presentations, where authors share their journeys and truisms about writing and publishing.  Terri Brisbin reminded me to write—and floss—daily. And Caroline Linden reminded me that writing can help center a writer even when she faces adversity in her life.  I can’t recap all the wonderful things they shared, all I know is that I came away fired up.

And then there were workshops. I attended a great session on Point of View by Gail Eastwood. I thought I was pretty good at POV, but Gail proved to me that there were even more layers to the ways I could use it.  Penny Watson was there to talk about social media and promotion (and dachshunds and beards…really, check her site) and I scribbled notes furiously.  And Kady Cross explored conflict between human and non-human characters (and was a huge hit with my fan-girl niece who got to meet her!) And Terri Brisbin helped me see that maybe there is a reason for me to explore writing a novella length story in my Lords of London series.

By the end of the weekend, my brain was humming with ideas.  I’m prepping for a two-week writing sabbatical, so the timing was perfect.  No matter how long you’re in this game, there’s always more to learn.  I’m really looking forward to the next two conferences I’ll be attending later this summer.  Meanwhile, I’m going to take a note from Liz and stay up late and read.

How about you – have you ever attended a conference or taken an adult education class? What else is out there that you’d like to learn?

About Amy Atwell

Amy Atwell is a storyteller at heart. After fifteen years in professional theater, she turned from the stage to the page to write contemporary capers and historical tales that combine romance and adventure. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When not writing, she runs the online author communities WritingGIAM and Author E.M.S.
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10 Responses to Back To School – The Writer Way

  1. I’ll be attending two conferences this year and I’m super excited! Sitting inside all day, its nice to get out and mingle! I love reading books that I adore when I’m stuck with my own writing, they always help to motivate me!

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    On Saturday I was at Barbara Vey’s Reader Appreciation Luncheon. And I’ve also finished a really good book two days ago. That always gives me incentive to write better. I’m on a mission now to read a lot of good books. 🙂

  3. Amy,
    I’m so glad you had a great time at the conference!
    A good friend of mine (and a writing critique partner) was there, too, and she loved it ;).
    As for conferences, I’m planning to attend the annual general meeting of the Jane Austen Society this fall — there will be dancing! The last one I went to had classes on how to write with a quill pen, how to make a Regency bonnet and how to do several ballroom dances of the era. It was a lot of fun!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Marilyn, The Jane Austen Society annual meeting sounds lovely! I took a class in period style that covered acting in period costume, curtseying, many dances and how to communicate with a fan. I loved that class. Enjoy your travels!
      Amy Atwell`s last blog was …Story Icons: The Protector

  4. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Amy,

    I miss conferences! I used to live in Surrey where the Surrey International Writer’s conference is held every year. I volunteered for years and I always tried to take in as much as I could – to the point that I’m a zombie on overload. I’m jealous of your upcoming retreat. Sounds ideal!

    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …New Release! – UNBOUND

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Dale, I didn’t realize how much I would miss attending conferences, but a whole year without connecting with authors in person was just a drag. I’m so happy to be getting out and meeting fellow writers and readers! And volunteering–that’s a great way to meet people. Kudos to you for pitching in (where DO you find time??).
      Amy Atwell`s last blog was …Favorite Christmas Stories

  5. Liz Kreger says:

    Hey Amy. I’m totally with you with regard to conferences. As you say, there is always something new to learn. I love it when they manage to integrate a few funky workshops in with the more technical ones.

    Generally I manage to do the two biggie conferences … the annual RWA conference and the RT conference, plus I definitely get to the Wisconsin conference every year. The large conferences give me an opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and certainly a wider opportunity to pick and choose workshops … sometimes too many choices. 🙄 The smaller ones are a lot more intimate, which can be an advantage.

    Unfortunately, this year I’m missing the RT conference and at the moment the RWA is iffy. Will definitely make the Wisconsin conference … I’d better since I already paid for it. 😀

    To answer your question, recouping well … albeit slowly. I know this is going to take time, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Particularly if I never have to go through this again. 😎

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Liz, so great to see you here! Happy recovery time. I hope I’ll see you at RWA this summer, and I really do want to come up to WISRWA some summer. I know so many writers in that area.

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