If you’ve read my other articles, you know I’m a proponent of writers attending conferences. Our current situation makes this difficult and many scheduled events have been canceled. Luckily, writers are creative and have come up with virtual writer workshops and other options to fill the void.
One of my favorite author communities is The Creative Academy for Writers. The three founding authors — Donna Barker, Eileen Cook, and Crystal Hunt, have long believed that the creative process and writers are stronger when they share with one another and support each other’s goals. With that in mind, they created a welcoming community providing craft, technical, and business expertise along with workshops aimed at helping both the published author and the writer just starting her career. I love the fact that you can attend live events, ask questions, and interact with other participants, or opt to watch the recordings. The Creative Academy for Writers is designed on a donation platform, letting writers participate for free and pay what they would like as a donation to support the site.
With the recent cancelation of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference popular cruise, the founders at The Creative Academy for Writers created an online virtual cruise to fill the void and provide an opportunity for authors. I attended this event and in addition to offering top-notch guest speakers, master classes, question and answer sessions, writing sprints, and other fun and creative activities, it provided a much-needed place for writers and authors to connect with each other during these stressful times. One of the wonderful things about this group is the wealth of knowledge and information that is searchable on their site, providing opportunities to view their workshops even if you missed the live events.
Pop in a search for online writing workshops and resources and you’ll find several. Here a few that may offer something for you.
Writer’s Digest University offers a large selection of online workshops, webinars, classes, and boot camps. Occasionally, they offer free options and they also have a free newsletter, but most of their classes require a fee.
Masterclass also offers online courses delivered from some of the biggest names in writing, including James Patterson and Margaret Atwood. They also charge for their courses but are currently offering a two-for-one annual membership, giving members access to all of their courses on all topics.
Inkers Con is a popular Dallas-based conference, and they offer a digital pass to the conference session via video recordings. They offer craft, marketing, business, and advertising courses and the digital pass allows unlimited viewing starting June 6, 2020, for the conference year.
The Nonfiction Writers Conference is an online conference aimed at those who write nonfiction since 2010. There is a fee for the conference and is scheduled for May of 2020.
This is a great time to connect with other writers, find an online community or group, and get involved. You might find yourself with extra time on your hands or need a diversion, and connecting with others could provide some much sought-after human interaction in our days of social distancing. With the use of video and audio technology and apps, you can connect with others and find a class or two to hone your skills. Be sure and pay attention to the privacy settings on any apps you are using, so you minimize the potential of any unwanted attendees.
There are many genre-specific author groups on Facebook and other social media platforms to consider joining. In addition, there are genre-specific author organizations where you can become a member, usually for a fee. Many of them offer online learning opportunities, such as Sisters in Crime and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. It’s easy to search online for writing associations and groups by genre. You’re sure to find a niche group or association where you can learn more and find resources.
Rather than focusing on what you can’t do right now, look for opportunities to learn new skills. Check out some of the writer workshops or classes mentioned in this article or look for other ways to create your own communities online using tools like Facebook and Zoom. It’s a great time to work on the novel you’ve been wanting to write, pen a short story or find a workshop to learn about the business of writing.
I’m looking forward to attending two writing conferences this fall, but in the meantime, I’m using this time to connect with other writers online and perusing the offerings in several wonderful online communities.
Tammy L. Grace is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning fiction author of over a dozen novels, including her best-selling Hometown Harbor Series. She writes perfect escapes filled with friendship and family in women’s fiction, clever whodunit mysteries, and sweet Christmas romances. She’s a dog lover and her latest project is one that explores the bond between humans and dogs, where she is writing two emotional books for Bookouture under the pen name Casey Wilson. A Dog’s Hope and A Dog’s Chance are both available now.
When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever. Connect with Tammy on social media and learn more about Tammy and her books at www.tammylgrace.com or on Amazon.
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