Speaking of investing in yourself as a writer (were we? Indeed.), here is a conference that is well worth your investment. It’s called Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers and it’s held in the Salt Lake City area each June.
The conference is a week long, so it is definitely an investment, but the cost is really reasonable for a full week of instruction.
The basic structure is an intensive class in the mornings and then breakout sessions in the afternoons.
Evenings are free, and you will want to use them to work on assignments for the next day’s sessions.
The faculty is first rate, including Carol Lynch Williams, Ann Dee Ellis, Ann Cannon, Matthew Kirby, Mette Ivie Harrison, and more. You can take an intensive in picture book writing, science fiction, young adult novels, etc.
I have been to this conference twice, at different points in my writing career. The first time, I learned valuable lessons about imbuing my writing with emotional tension. The last time, with such fabulous authors as Kathleen Duey, Holly Black, and Ally Condie, I learned not to rush through scenes, but to fully explore details; to leave out the mundane and boring; and to further develop my playfulness as a writer.
As with any conference, I made connections to others who will probably help my career move forward, and even if they don’t or can’t, then I have great new friends who share my passion. I bolstered my skills and my confidence, and I spent concentrated time writing.
In addition to the authors, faculty includes agents, editors, illustrators, and other industry professionals.
You will benefit whether you’re a beginner or a published pro. Never stop growing.