Conference replenishes scribes

Day for Writers features 2 authors, 4 seminars and intimate setting

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If you go

What: Steamboat Springs Day for Writers, presented by the Steamboat Springs Writers Group and Steamboat Springs Arts Council

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 18

Where: The Depot Art Center,

1001 13th St.

Cost: $60 covers four seminars and a catered lunch

Call: Susan de Wardt at 846-6562 or e-mail susan@steamboatwr...

More info: From 1 to 4 p.m. July 17, de Wardt will lead a workshop titled "Write Way to Success," using her techniques as a life coach to help conference attendees look at barriers to their creativity and success. Conference participants also are invited to a separately ticketed Friday night barbecue dinner and "Ten Minutes of Fame" reading session. Admission to the Friday events is $25.

— At its annual Day for Writers, the Steamboat Springs Writers Group hopes to bring a large conference feeling to a small setting.

"We have a lot of writers in Steamboat who are really good, and you can't afford to go to the big Maui Writers Conference; it's several thousand dollars," said Day for Writers coordinator Susan de Wardt. "We want to bring that kind of experience right here in our town, to the people who live and work and write in Routt County."

There are a few spots left for the 28th annual conference, which is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 18 at the Depot Art Center. Sponsored by the Writers Group and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, the Day for Writers features four seminars by two authors: novelist Wick Downing and short story writer Erika Krouse.

Downing, who wrote courtroom dramas before transitioning to young adult novels, will talk about using imagination to write from varying points of view. In a workshop titled, "Are You Kidding Me?" Downing will address why, as an older man, he can write from the mind of a 14-year-old girl, de Wardt said.

Krouse will share exercises to help stuck writers get going and offer tips about how to get through the revision process to keep ideas moving through multiple drafts.

Conference organizers typically look for regional instructors to stay within a limited budget; Colorado has a large pool of established writers, de Wardt said. Organizers start looking for the next year's presenters in August and try to get a mix of fiction, nonfiction and publishing experts from year to year, she said.

The conference usually fills up, and it offers participants a chance to interact with each instructor, said Harriet Freiberger, a former conference coordinator who has been with the Writers Group since it formed in 1982. The day is open to beginning and published authors, and it's meant to be productive, she said.

"It's a working group, and we always tell our instructors, 'Don't think this is a fluff thing : these people really want to learn something.' Everybody is there because they want to leave with something that helps them," Freiberger said.

For the past 28 years, the Writers Group has helped fulfill the Art Council's role as a supporter of arts and humanities, de Wardt said. The Day for Writers is a chance to learn some new skills, ask questions of people who have been successful, and be with other people who write and understand that writing can be a very specific and sometimes overwhelming endeavor, she said.

"It really speaks to that opportunity to say, 'I write, and I really deserve to be around other people who write,'" she said.

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