I must admit it was a little odd and a lot exhausting to arrive home from one writers’ conference to attend another. Serendipity smiled and allowed me to attend both Rutgers Writing Conference and Yale, which ran from June 9-12. While structured differently, some of the same topics such as point of view and the same quotes from author’s came through. Great minds and all…
Logistics wise, Yale was harder to navigate. I commuted and the first morning had trouble finding the garage, which was behind a hockey rink. After driving around the block a few times, I asked a kind stranger and made it to my destination. My first walk to campus took 15 minutes. By day two, I figured out all the shortcuts and got it down to half that. The food was excellent and every person, both on campus and with the writing workshop, was truly friendly and helpful. Beyond friendly.
We spent the first 1/2 hour discussing safety and I have to say even though I worked in New Haven the previous summer, I left the talk spooked. I didn’t attend the evening program on the first night after security informed me that if I walked away from campus into an unknown or less than savory neighborhood, I needed to turn around and come back to Yale. Campus was safe, but… It was very intimidating for someone who had to walk to the garage every day.
Rutgers set up a Facebook page prior to the event and I think Yale Writers’ Workshop would benefit from doing the same. People could ask questions, meet participant, and it would alleviate some of the anxiety.
Now for the good stuff. I attended the Young Adult workshop during session 2 so I don’t really know how session 1 connected. I’m sure it was amazing.
Session 2 combined craft talks, author and editor presentations, and a critique of participant’s work. Participants in the YA breakout session critiqued my work and I also had a 1/2 hour one-on-one meeting with the instructor. While the craft lessons were excellent and useful, the critique became the highlight of the program. The ideas that participants and the our instructor shared fulled my passion for writing and revising. I would recommend you have a manuscript or partial manuscript ready if you attend this sessions.
Shout out to Sarah Darer Littman, the best instructor ever!
Now if I could catch up on sleep and find more time in the day to write.
Choosing a conference depends on the time you have – 2 or 4 days – and how deep you want to go into your own work. Both Yale and Rutgers were amazing experiences.