This is the year,” I said. The year I will attend a writers conference. Certain I’d walk away with valuable knowledge and new friends, I circled the dates, in red ink, on my calendar. Instead, life happened, reality set in, and the conference became a repeat item on my wish list. Some conferences were too costly, too lengthy, too far away, or personal and family obligations got in the way.
I turned green listening to other attendees talk about their experiences, and the authors and agents they met. I wanted to garner their newly acquired wisdom and enthusiasm for my own.
As much as I believed in the value of conferences, I realized they weren’t the only resource. So I developed a backup, my own lists of resources to utilize as my own home conference. Here are my top five.
Conference from Home: The internet provides a treasure trove of writing resources. Written by agents, authors, and writers, of all genres, they are, with the stroke of a key, available to everyone. Articles, instruction, workbooks, checklists, critiques, podcasts, online classes, and free downloads are yours for the taking.
- Live Write Thrive – C.S. Larkin’s website rates top on my list. She offers a wide selection of articles and focused series aimed at helping writers succeed. Her most recent series is 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction. In addition, you can download a number of items including, Fiction critiques and First-page checklists for novels. Two excellent examples.
- Write Better Stories – Jennifer Blanchard offers an array of articles and services, including free downloads for her new guide and workbook, How to Write Better Stories. Her First Plot Point Worksheet is also available.
- Writer’s Village Academy – In easy layman’s terms and with an array of examples, Dr. John Yeoman is a tremendous source of succinct information on writing. Currently, Dr. Yeoman is offering the first four weeks of his Master Course in Creative Writing – FREE!
- Women on Writing is an awesome site with numerous articles, classes (paid), and referral sites. Here you can find a smorgasbord of resources from classes like, Writing a Novel with a Writing Coach: One-on-one Instruction to sections on Character Research and Books for Writers. WOW, also sponsors one of my favorite contests.
- Udemy Online offer classes and courses on a variety of subjects, including writing. The courses are often discounted and sometimes free, as in the case of the course I’m taking, Outlining Your Novel: The Hollywood Secret Exposed (all about outlining a whodunit-mystery-novel).
While not the hands-on conference I aspire to, I find these the next best thing, providing me the opportunity to hone my craft from the comfort of home.
I’d love to spend a few days at a writers conference, but until the stars align and I can, I’ll utilize the resources at my fingertips.
What about you? What do you do in lieu of conferences?