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Written by Regina Allen   

Goals for 2006

By Regina Allen

January is usually reserved for setting goals and resolutions. It’s a time to look back at accomplishments and set goals for the next year to either continue on the same course of action or alter the course to adapt and reflect sudden changes. This includes attending conferences.

For attending conferences, I’ve set and re-set my guidelines accordingly. This year, my guidelines include budget for conferences, my writing level, and keeping a better conference notebook.

Budget.  If finances are tight, I either opt for a conference near home or, as in one case last year, decided to pass. When finances are good or better attend a conference away from home. Outside forces beyond your control occasionally keep you from attending a conference. If that happens, you can: visit the conference Web site for pictures and a synopsis of the event or ask someone who attended to send you flyers, pamphlets, and the program. You can always attend the conference next year.

Writing Level. Attending conferences can be fun and informative or dry and dull (I’ve attended a few stuffy conferences). I usually ask myself, what stage is my writing? Is the story ready to market? If the story’s at the marketing stage, conventions where agents, publishers and professional authors attend are ideal. A writer’s retreat or workshop is also ideal for group or one-to-one critiques from editors or peers or both. If this were my first time attending a conference, I’d try a smaller more intimate conference to get my feet wet.

Conference Notebook. Keeping a conference notebook helps on so many levels. For instance, when I mentioned to a friend that a well-known author had a new book out, I couldn’t remember the title. Luckily, I had written the title in my notebook. Another reason for keeping a notebook is to decide if that particular conference met your needs and if not, discover why. Also, conference notebook acts like a personal diary; you can relive the moment you made your first sale, met your favorite author or your impressions about the host city.

So, keep writing and have a peaceful and prosperous New Year!

Regina is a fiction writer who now lives in New York.

For an extensive listing of conferences and retreats, check magazines like the Writer, Asimov’s Science Fiction,Poets & Writers and Locus. For websites, Writer’s Digest ( and Shaw Guides ( have an exhaustive listing of conferences and workshops.

Early Spring in California Conference
March 17-19, 2006
Santa Cruz, California
This conference is sponsored by the Women’s Writing Guild. Includes workshops for women fiction and creative nonfiction writers.
For more information, contact: Early Spring in California Conference, International Women’s
Writing Guild, P.O. Box 810, Gracie Station, New York, NY 10028-0082
Contact Person: Hannelore Hahn, Executive Director
Telephone: (212) 737-7536

Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference
March 8-11, 2006
Austin, Texas
Conference includes meetings for publishers, teachers, writers and arts administrators. There will be a book fair, readings and panel discussions.
For more information, send an SASE to: Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, George Mason University, Mail Stop 1E3, Fairfax, VA 22030.
Contact Person: Matt Scanlon, Conference Director
Telephone: (703)993-4301

Vermont Studio Center
Johnson, Vermont
Four-week residencies offered. The Vermont Studio Center provides writers time to write, along with readings and conferences with two visiting writers each month. For 2006, the visiting writers will include Patricia Powell and Kate Wheeler; poets Brenda Hillman and E. Ethelbert Miller.
Tuition is $3,500 which includes room and board. Deadline for application for full fellowship:
February 15, 2006.
Application process: Submit up to 10 pages of poetry or 10–15 pages of fiction, creative nonfiction, a resume, application and three professional references. Application fee: $25.
For more information contact: Vermont Studio Center, PO Box 613, Johnson, VT 05656
Telephone: (802) 635-2727
Contact Person: Ryan Walsh, Writing Program Coordinator

Natchez Literary & Cinema Celebration
February 22-26, 2006
Natchez, Mississippi
The conference will focus on films, writing workshops, seminars, and exhibits. For more information contact: Post Office Box 1307, Natchez, MS39121
Telephone: (866) 296-6522

27th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts
March 15-19, 2006
Wyndham Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Theme: Drawn by the Fantastic. This is a genre conference and will focus on comics, graphic novels, art and literature.
For more information, visit their website:

The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop
June 4-11, 2006
Vitorchiano, Italy
This workshop focuses on fiction writing and will offer a program in poetry for readers.
For more information, visit their website:
Telephone: (740) 427-5207

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