This past weekend, I attended the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2015 Colorado Gold Conference in Westminster (Denver), Colorado. As 2015 Writer of the Year, I had the honor of delivering the Friday night keynote speech (photos to come…), and I also taught a Master’s Class and three workshops (one co-taught with my amazing agent, Sandra Bond).
I’ll be posting more about the conference in the days to come, but as usual the conference left me exhilarated, inspired, informed, better-educated and more eager to write than I could possibly imagine. I spent time with many beloved friends and made many new ones–and wished I could have had more time with each and every one of them.
Jeffrey Deaver’s wonderful keynote speech on Saturday night reminded me not only of the many reasons why I write, but that it takes hard work and dedication (and a pinch of luck) to make it in this difficult, demanding, heart-wrenching, wonderful, fantastic publishing business. In particular, I loved that his speech (and his workshops) mentioned that writing is a business as well as an art, and that we as authors must also learn to treat our writing as a business if we want to succeed long-term. I say the same thing often in my publishing legal talks, and posts, and tweets, but it’s also nice to hear a voice that I admire remind me of the important aspects of the writer’s life.
Conferences–and Colorado Gold in particular–play a critical role in a writer’s education, socialization, and career. They offer us the chance to learn a wide variety of different craft, business, and marketing techniques in a compact time and space. They let us connect with friends, both new and old. They help us make the contacts that assist with business and personal success–both now and over time–and they inspire us to return to work with renewed energy and drive.
It’s curious that even though I make my living “mushing words” until they have the right effect, the words will always–somehow–fail whenever I try to use them to describe how very important my years at Colorado Gold (and conferences generally) are to me. I’ll work on figuring out a better way to describe my experiences here in the days to come.
In the meantime, I’m already looking forward to next September, when I’ll return to Colorado for another wonderful RMFW conference. I’m flying home this morning, inspired to write and ready to return to my works in progress with a passion renewed by a week in the presence of my writing tribe.
If you’re a writer, and don’t attend a writers’ conference regularly, I cannot urge you enough to find a conference that speaks to you and to attend at least one conference every single year. Whether or not you’re published, conferences teach, inspire, and give you a chance to connect with other writers walking this wonderful and challenging path. Together, we are stronger than any of us could be alone, and conferences bring us together in special ways.
Colorado Gold is an island of inspiration that refreshes and recharges me for another year in the writing mines–and if you’re looking for a conference home, I hope you’ll consider joining us next year. We’d like to make you part of the RMFW tribe.
Do you have a favorite writers’ conference? Which one speaks to you?