Kat Gonso, our fiction director at Compose | A Journal of Simply Good Writing, recently wrote an article called Why You Should Go to a Writers’ Conference … Now. This is a topic I know you’ll appreciate, so here’s a little clip:
For years, I talked myself out of attending a writers’ conference. I’m not good enough. What if I don’t make any friends? It’s too much money.
Each spring I’d wistfully review the websites and begin writing my Bread Loaf application before snapping my computer shut, crawling into bed, and beginning my night-long Netflix binge. But last year, after some heavy pressing from my writing group, I decided to give it a shot. I applied to The Sewanee Writers’ Conference and was accepted.
For weeks, I told myself I couldn’t go. I’m not good enough. I won’t make friends. It’s too much money. My writing group continued to encourage me and I found myself polishing a 20-page manuscript that would be reviewed by my instructors, Christine Schutt and Allen Wier, as well as 11 total strangers.
As you can assume from the title, this story has a happy ending. Here’s what happened:
I talked about writing.
I mean really talked about writing, perhaps for the first time since graduating from my MFA program six years ago. The conference was a magical utopia of craft discussions and lectures. We gushed about our favorite books as we hiked and read our work aloud to each other during dinner. I was immersed in writing and nothing else (no bills to pay, papers to grade).