There probably is already a topic about this but I figured I'd ask anyways. Does anyone know of any good and affordable writer's conferences in the U.S.? Did you attend them personally? If so, what did you get out of it? Or really, was it worth the cost?
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Writers conference events sponsored by universities with writing programs are often free and open to the public. Most events anyway; they have a few events restricted to enrolled students, usually manuscripts evaluated by a guest writer, editor, or publisher. At them, you will find live readings, craft lectures with question and answer sessions, and panel discussions also with question and answer sessions.
Libraries, community colleges, and other civic organizations may also sponsor writing-related events in your area. They do in mine. Recent readings by poet laureates tapped by the Library of Congress read from their work at a local municipal museum, for example.
Convention writing conferences, usually held at convention centers, include the same base format; however, individual events may or may not require an admission fee. Many convention conferences offer package deals, including attendance to all restricted events, like an introduction reception, lodging, and perhaps a contintental breakfast for each day of lodging. Meals and beverages are otherwise not included. Many convention conferences also offer enrollment-package-only rates: no lodging or meals included. Many unrestricted events may not have an admission fee.
Not knowing where you can afford to travel to from Statesboro, Georgia, and what's local to you, I can't say, other than Altanta's Georgia State University's writing program is one of the premier southeastern writing programs.
Georgia Writers Association is a go-to source beginning for finding regional writing conferences and events local to you. Membership with that organization may provide affordable and useful benefits. However, searching much of their site doesn't require membership.
I belong to several writing organizations. My state's writing association for one. I find their events beyond my fiscal reach usually, though I've attended several that I could afford on a shoestring budget.
When I first began attending writing-related events, I didn't understand most of the presentations. As my knowledge developed of the writing community's lexicon and content and organization and topics, all the ways the community discourses, I began to understand.
I haven't attended a writing event in some time that I didn't understand fully. Though some events of some conferences were little more than personality cult, self-involved promotional presentations, many more have been informative of ever more discerning and complex writing topics I was interested in exploring.
Yes, the experience has been worth the cost, even if all I'd learned was how to pick and choose what events were in my best interests. I've learned far more over the years, though, and met a few interesting writers, editors, publishers, critics, and my own reader fans. Surprising, that latter one; I didn't know I had any fans.