Friday, October 2, 2015

Chicago Writer's Conference, September 25-27

Chicago Writer's Conference September 25-27 in Chicago 

Here's a great CWC2015 Storify recap on the conference (Storify captures tweets, photos, and other media on a chosen topic for easy viewing later.) A few of my tweets made it in!

This was my first time attending Chicago Writers, and the conference itself is only a few years old. I drove down only for the Saturday section of the conference, as Sunday was more of a half day with focus on pitching to agents. This conference is a great opportunity in particular for writers not tied to an age category like YA, or genre like romance, sci fi, mystery etc., as the content is geared toward general fiction, poetry, writing for magazines, and a bunch in between. Also great if you're new to conferences (smaller size, not overwhelming), are looking for general information on wider areas of writing, you want agent pitch opportunities or basics on the submission process, and you're fairly local to Chicago area. Even if you're traveling in, fall in Chicago is the best time to visit!

I met a writer who rode the train in from eastern Michigan (Hi, Mica!). She was enthusiastic from the start, introducing herself, passing out business cards, asking questions. She even organized a lunch group by holding up a sign for Sci Fi / Fantasy writers. (I joined in, though I write neither. Proof though, that genre writers will find each other!). Conferences are absolutely what you make of them. Put yourself out there, and you'll find someone to connect with.

Lunch: Maxwell Street style sausage at Al's
I did manage to find YA content! A YA author panel for one, and a session taught by author Lindsay Currie, a former Pitch Wars mentor, who shared tangible strategies for author promotion. I am definitely tapping her to come to Windy City RWA next year to teach that same workshop. Another valuable session was with Laurie Scheer who runs The Writer's Institute conference in Madison. Look her up and learn!

The variety of writers I encountered were so interesting. I met beginning authors, writers who had experience with screenplays (two who had produced and acted in stage plays), and freelance editors, one of whom used to work for the NY Times book review (wow) and another who is a professor writing her first fiction series. These were all women, by the way, and I was blown away by their experience and expertise. 

A few noticeable differences than other conferences I've attended: no meals provided, and no free books. Maybe I'm spoiled by RWA functions. Though Midwest Writers Workshop provided several meals and a bag full of resources and materials, too. Chicago Writers provided a attendees a bag--an empty one. My guess is that this conference will grow each year, and likely gain sponsors to provide materials conference attenders have grown to expect.

Definitely a good experience, and I'd recommend going especially for reasons listed. 

What writing conferences have you attended?


  1. So far just two IN SCBWI conferences. I'd love to attend a bigger one some day! That hot dog looked delicious. =)

  2. I haven't yet been to an SCBWI conference. I'd like to try a regional one but it always coincides with our anniversray and we're usually on a trip.

  3. I've love to attend some sort of conference someday, though it's a pity so many of them take place over Saturdays and Friday nights. I'd pretty much only be able to do the Sunday part of a conference, unless it were a time of year with very short days, like winter and late fall. Perhaps some small conference will eventually be held near my area, instead of in NYC all the time.

  4. I'm a big fan of the Surrey International Writers' Conference in BC. They don't give you a ton of swag, either--just a pen, but it's an amazing community and meals are included.

    1. I haven't heard of that one, I'll look it up!


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