Why Go to a Writer’s Conference? Two Slideshows Illustrate Some of the Many Benefits

Poet Mark Nepo

In April of this year poet Mark Nepo and I co-facilitated a writer’s retreat that brought 16 wonderful writers to the Fetzer Institute where we both work. The experience profoundly affected all of us, and we continue to stay in touch with each other. Soon we will have edited video interviews which I will share here.  In the meantime, this slideshow  introduces the writers and the beautiful Seasons retreat center environment in early Spring.

Poet Jack Ridl

I met poet Jack Ridl at the Seasons retreat, and he invited me to the Bear River Writers” Conference June 3-7. I have already introduced you to my instructor Sue Silverman and to Keith Taylor, the director, but here is another slide show of the group and the beautiful setting, which you can also see below.

Writers’ Conferences offer so many opportunities to learn, meet other writers, find inspiration in nature and in readings, and, occasionally, to write!  The current issue of The Writer magazine carries an article about the value of conferences. If you are serious about learning to write your life story, a subscription to this magazine and a search for a good writers’ conference will offer many benefits. Hope you enjoy these slideshows as teasers. Have you ever attended a conference?  Have a story to share?

Shirley Showalter


  1. Gutsywriter on June 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I love attending conferences and so far have been to four. I think it's a necessary process to learn and grow. You also tend to meet the same people from place to place: those who are serious about their writing careers.

  2. shirleyhs on June 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Sonia, it was a writer's conference that brought the two of us together. What pleasant memories! Do you know what the current status of SWBC is? Did they have a conference this year?

  3. shirleyhs on June 14, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    For more wonderful pictures taken at the Fetzer Writers Retreat, see Naseem Rakha's Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/TheCryingTree?v=photos

  4. Sarah Baughman on June 15, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Shirley, this is a wonderful slide show! You are quite the photographer… with that dual talent, I could see you creating some kind of book merging images with text. The pictures really capture the magic of that conference. Nice work and thanks for sharing.

  5. Gutsywriter on June 15, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Shirley, I know they didn't have one this year. Do you remember Marcia Meyer? She is trying to get it going again with different people to help fund it, I think. She's on my FB page, if you'd like to find out. I'm so happy we've stayed in touch since 2008.

  6. Heather Brown on June 17, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Dear Shirley,Hello! I’m writing on behalf of Bloomsbury USA. We’ve noticed that your website, 100 Memoirs, has a great readership and features wonderful books. We were hoping you might be interested in coordinating a giveaway of our new book, Unfinished Business, by Lee Kravitz. After losing his job, Lee Kravitz, a workaholic in his mid-fifties, took stock of his life and realized just how disconnected he had become from the people who mattered most to him. He committed an entire year to reconnecting with them and making amends. Unfinished Business describes ten transformational journeys, among them repaying a thirty-year-old debt, making a long-overdue condolence call, finding an abandoned relative, and fulfilling a forgotten promise. Unfinished Business came out on June 1st. Since its release, it has been reviewed in TIME Magazine, O the Oprah Magazine, and USA Weekend, among others and last week, Lee appeared on the Today Show to talk about the book and completing unfinished business. If you are interested, please feel free to send me an email at heather[dot]brown[at]bloomsburyusa[dot]com and let me know how many books you need and how you would like to conduct the giveaway. Many thanks, Heather

  7. shirleyhs on June 21, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Heather, thank you for your kind words and generous offer. I would love to do a book giveaway with Unfinished Business. It sounds like the kind of memoir that fits my favorite themes. I'll email. Readers, stay tuned for a great opportunity. . . .

  8. shirleyhs on June 21, 2010 at 1:29 am

    Thanks, Sarah! I love photography but consider myself an amateur. I am flattered by your comment. I find it easy to make slideshows in Pandora and then make web albums to share.

  9. shirleyhs on June 21, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Thanks, Sonia. I am friends with Marcia on FB also. I just wondered if you have heard any news about the future since her message to her FB friends.

  10. www.dufflyn.blogspot.com on August 15, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Yes! I have attended many a conference over the years…Napa Valley (SF), Warren Wilson (residency), Writers on Fire(LA), Taxco (Mexico), the Savannah Literary Festival. I got something out of all of them, but mostly my satisfaction depended upon 1. whom I was studying with and 2. how hard I worked! Thanks for this post, I’m always open to new ones. I’m writing my first memoir and blogging about my journey at: http://www.dufflyn.blogspot.com

  11. shirleyhs on August 15, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Hi, Dufflyn! I love when new writers find this blog. Sounds like you have had a great start through conferences. I quite agree that it takes effort and work before, during, and after the conference to make it really worthwhile.

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