Yale Writers’ Conference, Summer 2015
A few months ago, an author friend told me that he had attended a writers’ conference at Yale and what a fantastic experience it had been. I checked out the website and found the agenda interesting. While I’ve already published one book, The Journey of the Marked, I’m a firm believer that you can always improve and learn new things. So I decided to give it a try and submitted my application and writing sample (chapter one from book two).
They accepted me into the program. Great! Wait… what exactly had I just gotten myself into? I’d attended writing classes, but never a workshop. I re-read the agenda, but really had no idea what to expect. Nor did I appreciate the amount of work (reading, editing, writing) that the program would entail, though I do understand it’s a lower level than other programs. However, information continued to roll in from the organizers and instructors and I departed for New Haven, CT in early June fairly well prepared.
The first thing that struck me is how beautiful the Yale campus is. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to spend two weeks among such stunning architecture — a visit to the past. The second thing I realized was exactly how packed the agenda was. If I attended every class, speaker, and activity, I’d be busy from morning to night, but I was determined to try. What an amazing experience! A huge thank you to John for suggesting it.
So, what were my key takeaways, the things I’ll remember?
Relationships – What stands out to me the most are the other writers, instructors, and speakers that I had the opportunity to meet and get to know. From a young adult fantasy discussion with author, Lev Grossman, to highlighting race issues through writing with a fellow author, the conversations never disappointed. And those are relationships and a support network that are continuing beyond the program.
Opportunity – Session I of the program offers the chance to “pitch” your work to agents and publishers. Regardless of where these conversations ended, the experience was definitely worthwhile. I enjoyed the chance to speak with various individuals and hear their reactions to my work — especially the positive ones.
Information – Through the workshops and private instructor sessions, I learned more about my genre, my writing, and myself. As a result of the discussions, I’m splitting book two of my series into two books and I have clearer understanding of how to address certain items in my next book.
Writing conferences and workshops seem to vary, but I enjoyed this program and recommend it if you’re looking for a program with a mix of activities. Check it out here.