Continued learning is critical to the success of every writer and networking is a crucial component of the publishing journey. For new and experienced writers, finding a worthwhile writing conference can be difficult and daunting. So, when it comes to choosing the right writing conferences, it’s wise to choose carefully.
The more you know about the writing world and how it all works, the easier it will become to find the industry’s best writing conferences. Not to mention writing conferences that are the best for your writing needs at every stage of your journey.
Reasons to Attend a Writing Conference
- Change of scenery; chance to devote more time to writing.
- Meet other writers who might be willing to critique your manuscript.
- Get tips to improve your writing.
- Pitch your ideas to agents or editors.
- Find a professional writer or editor willing to edit your work.
- Learn more about your genre or subcategory.
- Network with industry insiders in the publishing world.
Of course, there are many additional reasons that writers may want to attend writing conferences. Every writer is different, and writers need different things at different stages.
Types of Writing Conferences
- Genre Specific
- Writing Retreats
Where to Find the Best Writing Conferences
Genre Specific Association Websites
These include the Romance Writers of America (RWA), Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), and the International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG). All of these publish annual conference schedules.
Regional Writing Groups
These include the Appalachian Authors’ Guild, the Midwest Travel Writers Association, and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. All of these writing groups are great places to ferret out the best writing conferences in a specific region.
Local Writing Groups
Groups like the California Writers Club or the Ohio Writers’ Guild often host, promote, or sponsor writing workshops and conferences.
These can be a great resource for finding the best writing conferences near you. Look for announcements in their continuing education catalog pages or on English department bulletin boards. Some community colleges even create a traditional writers conference like the annual Lakeland’s Writers Conference and Workshop or Write in the Harbor, a regional writers community hosted by Tacoma Community College.
State Universities and Colleges
These can be a great place to find announcements about conferences for writers, such as the Writing the Rockies Conference hosted by Western State Colorado University. The ShowMe Writers Masterclass offered through a partnership between Mizzou Publishing, and the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers’ Guild in November of 2016, was another great University hosted conference.
In addition to the above, writing organizations or websites for writers, such as Shaw Guides or this list at Writer’s Relief, are worth considering.
The Write Life is also one of my favorites for information about all things writing, including conferences for writers. In fact, Dana Sitar just published a great list of 30 Fantastic Writer’s Conferences for Authors, Bloggers, and Freelancers that lists a variety of the best writing conferences and where to find them.
2017 Writing Conferences In the Eastern U.S.
New York Pitch Conference
This is held at the Ripley Greer Studios in New York City, from March 16, 2017 to March 19th, 2017. Commercial authors take note. Participation is typically less than 65 writers, separated by genre into workshops.
Writers Digest Conference East
This will be held August 18-20th 2017 at the New York Hilton Midtown. First-time writers rave about this annual conference. Nearly one thousand writers were in attendance for the 2016 conference, so save the date and register early.
2017 Writing Conferences In the Western U.S
New Worlds, New Voices (NWNV) Conference
This is planned for February 14 through February 19, 2017, aboard the Queen Mary in Los Angeles, California. The goal of the professionals at the NWNV Conference is to “discover and develop new SFF authors and projects with an aim towards commercial novel and short fiction publication.”
Willamette Writer’s Conferences
These are held in Portland, Oregon. They were founded half a century ago by writer, Kay Snow to “bring published and unpublished writers together for mutual help and support.” Writers at all phases of their careers in all genres of writing attend meetings, the annual conference, or workshops.
San Francisco Writers Conference
This is held at the Mark Hopkins Hotel from February 16-19, 2017. It will feature Keynote Speakers Heather Graham, William Bernhardt (Founder Red Sneaker Writers), and John Perkins as well as a varied industry experts including authors, agents, editors and publishers.
2017 Writing Conferences In the Southern U.S.
If you are a writer looking to escape the colder climate or just get away from it all for a few days, you can kill two birds with one stone with the Writer’s Winter Escape Cruise 2017. Writers will board the Royal Caribbean ship and hone their craft or pitch their story ideas to a captive audience of industry professionals, while sailing to Nassau, Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico.
If a cruise doesn’t exactly float your boat or isn’t in the budget this year, the Asheville Christian Writers Conference will be held from February 17 through February 19th at The Cove in Asheville, NC. The goal of this conference is “…to spread the Word of God through fiction and non-fiction books, screenplays, scripts, articles, and blogs.”
The St. Augustine Author-Mentor Workshop will be held from February 25 to February 28th, 2017 in St. Augustine, Florida. This workshop provides a balanced mix of seasoned professionals to work one-and-one with new and emerging authors. This workshop is great for those who live in the area and for those who want to fly in to escape the cold February weather in other parts of the country.
We’ve only just scratched the surface with these writing conferences. But trust me, whether you are a freelance writer, a blogger, an e-book writer, screenwriter, poet, or you intend to publish a novel, the best writing conferences are out there, just waiting for you to find them.