I talk to the fabulous Cathy Day about the importance of business-focused writing conferences for recent and not-so-recent MFA grads at the blog for the Midwest Writers’ Workshop, which will take place this summer in Muncie, IN from July 25-27.
As a side note: before I ever even knew that getting a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing was an option, a writing conference was the occasion that led me to change my thinking about my writing. Back in 2008, at a Writer’s Digest conference in Cincinnati, I listened to Jane Friedman and Chuck Sambuchino and others talking about writing seriously and professionally.
I started thinking about writing differently: maybe there was more to the stories I’d been writing since I was in third grade. Maybe those little awards–an essay prize in fifth grade, a humor prize in eighth grade, a hundred-dollar gift card my senior year of college–actually added up to something. Maybe I should be taking myself as seriously as the writers around me (like Kent Ostby) were.
If you’re on the fence about your writing, maybe it’s time you got to a conference. Big, small, local, national–MWW is a good one, but go where you need to go. Take yourself seriously. You might be surprised by what happens next.
Oh, and by the way: longtime readers might recall that this is the conference where I won cash money for an excerpt from my novel. So, you know. Prizes.