A mini-conference can be one day, a weekend, or however long you want. It’s time that you and your friends spend together learning, sharing, writing, and critiquing.
Prior to your mini-conference, assign each friend a topic to research and present to the group. Topics could include publishing trends, agents, networking, Internet and social media for writers, self-publishing options . . . whatever fits your group’s interests.
Set up a conference schedule that includes presentations, discussion time, writing time, and critiques. Also build in time to socialize and have fun.
Venue is important. You’ll need a place free from interruptions.
- Rent a cottage. With everyone in your group splitting the rental cost, a large cottage is an affordable option.
- Go camping. Being outside, surrounded by nature, is the perfect environment for inspiration. (Of course, you’ll need a source of electricity to charge your laptops.)
- Find a spot near home. Is there a quiet lake nearby, a secluded nature center, a shady park? Sometimes, the best places for writing and sharing are close to home. Just remember that your venue should, as Thomas Hardy wrote, “be far from the madding crowd.”
- Use your own backyard. Send your spouse and kids away for a few days, and turn your house into a writers’ retreat.
- Think “outside the box.” Other venues might be a boat, an old barn, an attic (remember Jo in “Little Women”?) Scout around for what’s available and affordable for your group.
Finally, agree on some rules like cell phone use; quiet time for writing; honest, but positive, feedback, etc.
Have you and your friends done a mini-conference? Leave a comment and tell us about it.