Why Should You Attend?

Let’s face it. Writers are weird. You know what I’m saying. When I tell people I’m a writer, they give me a funny look and I can tell they’re not sure how to respond. It might be that I haven’t published anything in the nonfiction world yet. It could be that I disappear from my social circles for weeks at a time because I get so caught up working on my manuscript. No matter how you slice it, I am not like my non-writing friends.
However, there are places I can go where I feel less weird and more like my normal self: writing conferences. As an assistant for both Solstice and Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (WIFYR) this year, this topic is near and dear to my heart. I have attended and/or planned several writing conferences over the years, and the the things I’ve learned have made me a better writer than when I first began. Teachers attend professional development seminars to become better at their profession. Doctors go to medical conferences to gain deeper insight into best practices. Writers should do the same thing. Here are three reasons why you should attend conferences and workshops like Solstice:

Fellow Weirdos Unite
When you first walk into a writing workshop, you’re a bit overwhelmed. You’re self-conscious of the fact that you’re new. Then you look around and you see someone wearing a Harry Potter T-shirt. Someone else has pencils stuck in her hair. Two guys are discussing some author’s most recent blog post. You recognize a bit of yourself in all of them and realize you have finally found your people, so you relax and pull your notebook from your Charlotte Brontë book bag.

As the conference progresses, you get to know people. Here in Utah, there is a vast and talented writing community, full of people who are willing to help each other improve their craft. When I’ve attended conferences like Solstice, I’ve set up critique groups with people I’ve met, kept in contact with editors, and have even had instructors who were willing to help me well after the conference. Beyond that, I’ve developed friendships with people I might not have otherwise met.

You Become a Better Writer
This really goes without saying. Take the opportunity to dive in and do the work, to learn from others within the industry. It motivates you to keep going. You’ll workshop your manuscripts and you’ll rewrite passages, and by doing so, you will improve your own writing. At times you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge and information you gain, but you’ll learn to contain it into something manageable and use it to shape your own voice and writing style. And when you do that, you’ll realize you weren’t so weird after all.

So take that step and sign up for a conference today. Solstice is a wonderful place to start. If you’re interested in writing fiction, come to WIFYR in June. Just do it!


Another Contest!

Can you believe that we are slightly more than a month away from the first annual Solstice Writers Retreat? The hillsides of Midway are turning green and lush. The water on Deer Creek is sparkling. There isn’t a prettier place in the summer than Midway, Utah. Imagine the inspiration that will happen when you’re up here in the mountain tops, attending this amazing writers conference! Classes are filling up, but there’s still time left to sign up.

In the mean time, we’ve got another exciting giveaway! Ann Cannon is offering a signed copy of her book, “What’s a Mother To Do?” to one lucky winner! Here’s what you need to do to win: leave a comment below telling us about a funny experience you either had as a mother or remember about your own mother. Then, go and tell your friends to come back and leave a comment, too. Your friend should mention your name in their comment. You’ll get an entry for your own comment and an additional entry for every friend who also leaves a comment! We’ll draw the name of the winner next Wednesday, so get out there and tell your friends!

See you soon!

A Slight Modification

Hi All! There has been some confusion about John Bennion’s workshop. Many people think this is a class for people who want to write about nature. However, nature is just on element that John uses to help people with whatever they are writing.  Perhaps a better description is this: John is a creative writing professor who specializes in memoir and nature writing.  He helps students report their personal experience and establish a sense of time and place. He is the author of published books for both adults and young adults.

Hopefully that clarifies things.

Classes are filling up, so be sure to register today!

Good News!

If you’ve been putting off signing up for Solstice Writers Retreat in lovely Midway, Utah, have we got a deal for you! We have extended our early bird pricing until May 31! That’s right. You can still get the full conference for only $249. With classes offered by Ann Cannon, John Bytheway, Dean Hughes, Louise Plummer, and other successful authors, this is one fantastic deal. As far as Utah writing conferences go, Solstice can’t be beat. You get 3 days of instruction, critiquing, and information all in one place. Plus, we’re just going to have a lot of fun. So sign up today!

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Laurel Dillman!

Laurel, as someone who has “liked” us on Facebook, your name was randomly selected as the winner of our first contest. You have won a signed copy of Dean Hughes’ new book Through Cloud and Sunshine. Send us a private message on Facebook with information so that we can send you the book.

As for the rest of you, never fear! We have plenty more contests coming your way. So be on the lookout and tell your friends!

By the way, the early bird pricing for Solstice has come and gone, but there is still plenty of room, so sign up today!

Contest Time!

Guess what?!? It’s time for our first contest and we’ve decided to start off with a bang! Dean Hughes’ 100th book is coming out in a few short weeks and he has offered to autograph the first copy out of the box for one lucky winner. His new book, Through Cloud and Sunshine, is the second book in the Come to Zion series.

Here’s how to get your chance to win: “like” the Solstice Writers Retreat Facebook page. Share it with your friends. As soon as we get 20 “likes,” we will draw the name of one lucky winner. That’s it! Easy Peasy.

And just to make it easier, here is a link to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Solstice-Writing-Retreat/477517775618547

Like us today. Win tomorrow.

Good Luck!

What Are YOU Waiting For?

Hey fellow writers! We have received our first few registrations and are so excited for things to be getting underway. If you’re still debating as to whether or not to sign up for Solstice, allow us to give you a few good reasons:

1. Early bird registration ends in a few days — that’s right — get the best deal we’re offering before it’s gone!

2. Class space is limited, so if you want to sign up for a specific class, now is the time!

3. When it’s sweltering this summer, you’ll be enjoying the cool mountain air in Midway, Utah (not to mention the views)!

4. A writers conference is a great place to make new friends and meet like-minded people.

5. Our teachers have some incredible things planned. You won’t want to miss out!

So there. What are you waiting for? Sign up for Solstice today. And while you’re at it, like our Facebook page:


Solstice Faculty: A Veritable Who’s Who of Writers

Solstice is proud to introduce you to some of the best writing talent anywhere:

1. Ann Edwards Cannon

RETREAT TOPIC: Writing Columns and Blogs

Ann is the writer of a well-known column in the Salt Lake Tribune and the author of a widely-read blog, The Writers’ Corner (And Also What I Ate Today). She’s also the author of several novels, children’s books, and essays. If you’re familiar with Ann’s style, you know you’re in for a good time.

2. John Bennion

RETREAT TOPIC: Nature and Outdoor Writing

John is a creative writing professor who specializes in nature writing. He often takes his writers on hiking expeditions where adventure (and good stories) ensue. John has published books for both adults and young adults alike. If you love the outdoors, John will teach you how to put it into words.

3. Dean Hughes

RETREAT TOPIC: Writing Nonfiction for Children

As someone who has made a career of writing (Dean has published over 100 books) this is a class not to be missed. Combining his wit and vast experience, Dean will offer extraordinary insight into what it takes to write for children.

4. Louise Plummer

RETREAT TOPIC: Writing Memoirs

Louise has published in both the fiction and non-fiction markets. She has used her own experiences to create works that are witty, original and thought-provoking. She spent many years as a writing professor, but her style is anything but “professorial.” If you’re looking to write your personal or family history, this may just be the class for you.

So there you have it! With an all-star line-up like that, Solstice promises to be a dynamic, entertaining, and highly informative writing conference. And there are still a few weeks left to get early bird pricing – so don’t wait any longer. Sign up today!

By the Way, Did You Hear About Our Keynote Speaker?

In our last blog post, I hinted that we had a dynamite keynote speaker lined up. Did you catch it? That’s right… it’s the fabulous John Bytheway! Mr. Bytheway is well known as a public speaker, and he is also the author of several books for teens and young adults. And for two-and-a-half days, he’s ours…all ours. That’s because in addition to being the keynote speaker, he is also teaching a course on writing self-help and informational books. This promises to be a very popular class, and space is limited, so sign up today! Just think about it… three glorious summer days at a writer’s conference…Midway, UT…The Homestead Resort… Can life get any better than that?