This past weekend I attended the Maryland Writers’ Association’s conference from Brain to Bookshelf 2019. It was wonderful with good resources, a variety of speakers and a bookstore featuring Maryland writers.
I primarily became interested in the conference when I learned that Chuck Sambuchino would be one of the keynote speakers. I always enjoyed his columns in Writer’s Digest and knew he would have much to share. I wasn’t disappointed.
I didn’t think I would be able to sit through a four-hour intensive session on agents, submissions, queries and first pages, but I did. Others had expressed worry about sitting for so long but I didn’t see any one leave. Also, Sambuchino's other speeches and panels were popular.
Crystal Wilkinson, the other keynote speaker, who spoke on The Thin Line: Writing Memorable Characters. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend her special session on writing poetry, but hope to be able to hear her again and enjoy her writing in the meantime.
My favorite workshop was “Creating a Reputation as a Local History or Niche Writer” with James Rada. Besides being interested in writing local history, this workshop appealed to me because I worked with James Rada on the staff of the Cumberland Times-News. I had enjoyed his columns then and later read some of his books. Again, I was not disappointed. He gave an interesting presentation and was willing to discuss ideas and answer questions later in the day.
I really enjoyed “Reverse Engineering the Cozy Mystery” with Lane Stone, as she had us work with her to build a cozy mystery. Other workshops, including “Write Outside the Box and Stay Within the Room” with Linda Rondeau.
I didn’t schedule to meet with an agent since I felt it was too early in my current writing project to share it. Quite a few new books came home with me. Some of my books sold also and I left pleased with new writing friends as well as lots of inspiration and motivation.
I came home with books from some of the writers I met and information about others I hope to purchase in the future. Still processing information I learned, I am looking forward to 2020's conference to hear Jane Friedman speak. She is an award-winning blogger on all aspects of writing and publishing who will speak at the 2020 conference.
You can learn more about Maryland Writers’ Association at marylandwriters.org. The nonprofit, voluntary organization is dedicated to the art, craft and business of writing.