In 2002, I attended a one-week writers’ conference on Martha’s Vineyard called Viable Paradise. It was a transformative experience in more ways than one. Not only did I get over my arrogant refusal to touch short stories, I also hooked in with a top-notch writers’ group, the BRAWLers. (Formerly Boston Area SF Writers — they decided they needed a punchier name. GET IT? Punch — er, right, yeah.) VP and the BRAWLers kicked my wishy-washy, undisciplined ass into professional gear. I learned to set goals, and take small but measurable steps toward them. I learned the importance of persistence. I gained mentors — though stupidly and out of shyness I haven’t kept in touch with them the way I should. ::sigh:: I still learned a lot about networking, and did a better job of it with future mentors. And most importantly of all, I started seriously trying to get published at that point. I didn’t become a pro writer by SFWA standards ’til last year*, but I was already a pro writer where it mattered most — in my heart. All thanks to VP.
Plus I had a lot of fun, made some good friends, got to look at bioluminescent jellyfish, and — hey. Martha’s Vineyard, OK?
You, too, can experience the awe and mystery that is VP! There’s still time to apply for this year’s class, through June 30th. IMO, VP is comparable to Clarion, Milford, and all the other big-name writers’ workshops. It’s just, uh, smaller.Trust me; it’s the best way an aspiring writer could ever possibly blow a week’s vacation. =)
*Technically I’m still not a pro by SFWA standards — still haven’t gotten a contract or payment for the Baen’s sale or the book deal. ::sigh::