Online Writing Conferences (The New Normal?)



Even though writer’s conferences force writers to step outside of their homes and mingle with other authors while also joining workshops that feel like a boot camp for the writing craft, in 2020, authors attend the conferences via Zoom or other platforms.

I found this article about online conferences. I’m also including other writing conferences offering online options in 2020 (summer and autumn).  Since the expense of travel and accommodations hinders lower-income authors from attending, perhaps, the online versions offer affordable options, even enrolling in one or two workshops.

Chuckanut Writers Conference (Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA)

Write on the Sound, (Edmonds, WA)

Willamette Writers Conference (Oregon)

Romance Writers of America

Do a Google search for your favorite conference and you might be surprised to find an online version. The benefit is that you can join the conference from your home. You don’t have to haul your computer with you, travel, or stay in a hotel. You might save money too. Also, geography doesn’t matter when there is an online version.

2020 might be the year to improve your writing skills by attending an online conference.  It’s true that you won’t meet people face-to-face but you also won’t experience any distractions. Also, see if the online conference offer pitching sessions to agents and editors or master classes.

So far 2020 has been the strangest and most monumental year of my lifetime. As we have been forced to stay indoors, we’ve had more time to write or to improve our craft. I hope that you are able to attend an online conference or at least an online workshop. I’m glad we still have the option.




An Author in Lockdown

This is a selfie from 2016-17.



No, an author in lockdown is nothing like an American in Paris even if I’m riffing off that movie title. And sadly, I used the lockdown as an excuse not to write with the exception of the blog posts for this and my other three active blogs.

You would think that all the ballet dancers, musicians, and craftspeople using the YouTube platform for sharing their work during lockdown would inspire me. Certainly, the internet has blossomed as a renaissance of creative pursuits with an invisible audience that makes its presence known with clicks and likes. Authors who were unable to give book signings or tour also found new platforms online. Even writers’ conferences adapted to video-phone technology such as Zoom and Google Chat.

Although as a gift to myself, I bought the Scrivener software. And during the past two months, I uploaded three manuscripts on the program along with photos and research. However, they are my completed manuscripts with the exception of my memoir, Bitch which is in the rewriting stage.

I’ve thought about writing flash fiction and I experienced those lightbulb moments when story ideas popped into my mind and didn’t follow through. Perhaps, the lockdown experience has blocked my muse from coming through and it certainly has hindered my motivation. But this is not to say that I haven’t felt motivated to take online Reiki classes or to practice yoga, or spend time cooking healthy meals.

lady street

Yet, with all this “free” time on my hands, it still feels like time is racing and the weeks have sped past me. Within the span of three months, I have evolved and morphed into a new person with Corona hair. However, I have changed little with my outer self because most of the growth happened with the inner self. Like so many other people, especially those who have experienced loss, I stand at the proverbial crossroads or the point of four cardinal directions.

I used this time to set stronger boundaries with others and reflect upon my values which have changed drastically or if not, took me back to the core of my authentic self. Oddly, finding old journals I wrote during the 1990s triggered my old muses and dreams of publishing my work. You would think that would inspire me to sit down at my computer and at least write flash fiction.

As far as submitting my already completed work, I’ve done little with that, mostly out of lethargy. With the numerous rejections I received from literary journals and agents, I hardly see the point of disappointing myself during a time of even greater loss. Having said that, I have revisited novels and submitted to two or three agents–not that they’re getting back with anyone during their lockdowns.

Still, I’m hoping that something I wrote that wasn’t previously trending or of popular demand might become so with the New Normal. Perhaps, I’m thinking, that book lovers won’t want to indulge in a thriller or conspiracy theory novel and instead seek escape literature in the form of a good romance or a spunky YA novel or perhaps, they would care to revisit the Greek story of Orpheus and his wife Eurydice set in modern-day Seattle.

Oddly, I have read little in the way of novels or even non-fiction books during the lockdown when this would have been the perfect time to indulge in the writing of others. I have joined a group of writers in San Francisco via Zoom for discussions with published authors. And I will be joining a writing workshop with the online version of the Chuckanut Writers Conference this month (since I applied for the conference’s scholarship).

For me, this is a time to regroup and reevaluate my mission as an author. I won’t begin my next novel until 2021 (which involves a young horse jockey). And I will create a Patreon campaign for that novel. I’m going to do things differently as I embrace new technology and ways to build a community around my work.

In the meantime, if you are an author in lockdown, please leave your experiences in the comment section. I would love to hear from you.