I will be attending the Santa Barbara Writers Conference this June. Last year I had a chance to see Ray Bradbury give the key note speech and this year I decided to check out the rest of the conference and attend some of the workshops. To be completely honest, I have never considered myself a writer’s group/workshop kind of guy although I have been to a few. It’s not that they aren’t interesting or helpful, but I’ve just always felt any spare time I had was better spent writing. I seem to prefer being down in the mine alone, in the dark, without a light, scraping away at the dirt with my hands where no mortal soul will bear witness to my labor.
However, there really are some great things about groups, workshops and conferences. For one, being around other writers can really inspire your efforts. Part of the reason I’m attending this year is how inspired I was by Ray Bradbury’s key note speech last year. That experience alone really got me fired up about my work and was part of the reason I started this blog. Second, a workshop or a conference provides the opportunity to make a concentrated study of craft. Finally, conferences are the perfect place to network and make contacts in a business where you do spend long hours alone.
Recently I’ve been meeting occasionally with a friend who is also working on a novel and have really enjoyed discussing our work, so maybe things are changing. I’m very excited about the conference and would love to hear your opinions on groups and workshops.