A Weekend of Writing Renewal

I am hunched over my laptop in a Portland hotel room, squinting through an exhausted blur, trying to write something coherent about the last three days.

Writing is largely a solitary activity, though I rarely feel alone as I breathe life and form into my characters.

Still, human beings are essentially social creatures and it’s healthy for writers to occasionally venture out of their caves and interact. When writers gather they share craft, critique each others work, network and consume alcohol.

A writer conference concentrates these activities into an intense long-weekend. It shakes up the solitary writer’s confidence; cross plows ruts; and delivers a healthy shot of reality.

This is the second time I’ve traveled down from British Columbia to attend the Willamette Writers Conference. It featured the usual workshops, pitch sessions, manuscript critiques and camaraderie.

Over the years, I have also attended the San Francisco Writers Conference and The Surrey International Writers Conference. I recommend all three.

Writing is a journey of discovery. Writers’ conferences offer traveler refuge and renewal along the way.



This is the first post in today’s rolling blog tour on the topic of Writers Conferences.  Please visit Mollie Bryan next.

Mollie Bryan http://www.molliecoxbryan.com/2011/08/to-go-or-not-to-go-writers-conferences/

Ryder Islington  http://ryderislington.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/writers-conferences/

Sarah Wisseman http://sarahwisseman.blogspot.com/2011/08/writers-conferences-to-go-or-not-to-go.html

Kathleen Kaska http://kathleenkaskawrites.blogspot.com/2011/08/writers-conferences.html


  1. KT,
    Conferences do shake up our confidence and that is a very good thing. Maybe I’ll join you in Portland next year.

    • KTWagner KTWagner says:

      Now that you mention it, conferences are also an opportunity to meet virtual acquaintances in person. I’ve established many wonderful on-line connections with other writers but it would be great to meet in person.

      In Portland, I randomly chatted with a fellow writer at the reception only to figure out later I had already “met” her on Twitter. We had even exchanged messages promising to watch for each other but neither of us made the connection until later.

      I hope we meet someday Kathleen. I am not sure if I’ll head back to Portland next year. My annual conference is the one in Surrey, which I highly recommend (http://www.siwc.ca)


  2. I hadn’t thought about the fact that going to a conference pulls us out of our solitary life, to share with other solitary writers. Good article.

    • KTWagner KTWagner says:

      Thanks for dropping by Ryder. We should all plan to meet at a writers conference sometime over the next year!


  3. Thank you for your kind mention, and support, of http://www.SiWC.ca .

    Just wanted to remind your readers that Surrey International Writers’ Conference Writing Contest is open to all (details on website). The closing date for entries is Sept 9, 2011 at 4 p.m PST.

    Also, you might like to check the SiWC Awards section. The Griffin and Special Achievement Awards could profile writers you may wish to honour.

    Again, many thanks.
    Best wishes
    ~ Ursula ( SiWC Director)

    • Thanks for the note Ursula – you and the rest of the committee do a fantastic job every year.

      I think this will be my tenth year attending Surrey and it is always well worth it. I also recommend the Master classes on Thursday.


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