Rutgers Writers’ Conference


I’ve found my people.  My Tribe. Attending the Rutgers Writers’ conference on June 2-3, 2018 left me inspired and ambition. While I’m sure these attributes will wane with a few days slogging through the last of my curriculum at school or as I amass rejections letter, I’ll bask in the moment and provide you with some of the highlights of the conference.

Non-essential stuff first: Delicious food, a hotel within walking distance, and a well-organized, fun conference.

Now for the stuff you really want to know: Alice Hoffman and Chris Bohjalian were talented speakers with amazing content who delivered wonderful keynotes on Saturday and Sunday. I wanted to sit down with both of them to learn the trade. Even better than their wonderful, illuminating speeches, both seem like really nice people who would help if you were stranded on the side of the road.



Bohjalian spoke about how he was told by a creative writing teacher to become a “banker” and how he received 250 rejections when sending out his short stories after college.  If that doesn’t give you hope, I don’t know what will. By the way, he really talked about activism through writing.

All the workshops at the conference were valuable, but I have to point out two of my favorites.  “Writing True Romance” by Sarah Maclean kept me laughing as I learned things.  Maybe it was the content. We talked euphemistic “code words.” But still… this woman is brilliant. I can see why she has numerous best sellers. I only wish the workshop was longer.

As an English teacher, I thought I knew some stuff, but I learned so much from Chris Bohjalian’s “Hooking your Reader from the First Page – and Why It Matters.” The workshop discussed important aspects when starting a book such as picking a tense, a perspective, and writing an amazing first line. Bohjalian also volunteered to blurb any of the workshop participant’s books. He obviously didn’t know I have one coming out in August.  Should I email him?


Let me know what you think…please.

PS I’m going to Yale’s Writer’s workshop this weekend so I’ll compare and contrast for you next blog post.

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