In the days leading up to finals, the last thing I thought I would be doing was making a hotel reservation. But there I was, cradling the phone against my shoulder and scratching down my room confirmation number as the concierge read it back to me.
Thanks to the gracious recommendations of my professors, this summer Arcadia has offered to send me to the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. When Dr. Jo Ann Weiner, the chair of the English department, called me into her office last week to let me know about this amazing opportunity, I was absolutely elated and eager to learn more.
During our conversation, I discovered that for three days in June, this annual conference brings together writers, literary agents, and publishers for a long weekend filled with workshops, speeches, and special dinner events. And although the conference takes place over a long weekend, the schedule is jam-packed. Whether you’re a poet or a novelist, a screenplay writer or a non-fiction author, the conference offers workshops each day on various genres and areas of your specific craft, each designed to help you improve your writing.
During the dinner events, you get to sit down with agents and other industry aficionados to pitch your ideas and/or completed works.
And if you’re lucky, you just might walk out with representation.
As I was sitting there, listening to Dr. Weiner explain all of this, my foot began to tap with anticipation. I unfolded my hands and then quickly folded them back up. I tugged on a loose strand of hair that had fallen out of my bun.
This. Sounded. Awesome.
After letting me know all about the layout of the conference, Dr. Weiner officially extended me the offer and, smiling so hard that my face began to hurt, I emphatically accepted. Giving a writer access to an event like this is like handing an adrenaline junkie an all-day pass to an amusement park on a day with no lines.
Aside from writing papers for school and posts like the lovely one you’re reading right now, I also love to write in my free time. Last semester, Arcadia’s Under Siege theater club even staged a reading of one of my plays and the feedback I got on that night alone was invaluable. Just imagine what I will take away from three whole days of focused conversation on writing!
As long as you have a pen or pencil (heck, even a good ol’ Crayola will do for me!) you can practice your craft; you can write. But finding someone to talk with about your craft is a bit harder. It’s not every day you come across a person who has the time or is willing to discuss your work with you. So getting the chance to attend a conference like this, where people are gathering for the sole purpose of talking about writing, is a rare and valuable opportunity.
I am so grateful to Arcadia and my wonderfully supportive and encouraging faculty for enabling me to attend the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference this year. There is no telling what is in store for me this summer, but one thing’s for certain—I’m going to soak up every second of it!
Photo by bwardpt0.