My biggest conundrum upon attending my first FWA conference in 2011 was “Where do I begin?” I’d written for many years, but had learned my (questionable) craft from reading novels. The dizzying head-hopping that was the bane of my editor’s red pen? I picked that up from Nora Roberts. My characters grunted, laughed, moaned, and snarled. They never actually just “said” anything. That came from reading Robert Ludlum novels.
At the FWA conference, faced with more writers’ workshops than I could attend, I was like a bibliophile in a bookstore, armed with a credit card with my husband’s name on it. I loved every moment of that first conference and have returned for many since.
Recently, FWA started slotting its workshops by “tracks,” so you could attend a marketing track, focused on social media and selling books, or you could choose a track focused on writing skills. Either way, I was empowered to grow my career the way I wanted. An expansion of that idea, FWA Focus Days are a great way to accelerate your writing skills and career, and meet other authors without the larger expense of a three-day conference. This year, FWA offers four Focus Days. Topics include Character-driven stories; Conflict-driven stories; E-books; and Marketing.
Finally, be sure to check out local writers’ workshops. Your local library may have information on authors stopping by to talk about their book or their career. For example, if you live in the Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach counties, each March, the Coral Springs Festival of the Arts offers three days of free writers’ workshops .
Finally, I’ve got my eye on two week-long writers workshops—Squaw Valley and Bread Loaf. Both are application-only workshops, and the small classes allow you to get highly targeted advice and feedback on your specific writing challenges. Someday, that will be my treat to myself… (*pats my back pocket where I’ve stashed my husband’s credit card…*)