Thank you to Leslie Pietrzyk for posting this timely "guest blog" by Julie Wakeman-Linn:
This is a very timely posting since I have decided to skip AWP this year and spend the money getting out of town by myself for a few of my very own self-disciplined weekend writing retreats this year. As a stay-at-home mom whose toddler is in part-time preschool, it's more logistically feasible for me to take a few three-day weekends as opposed to a single two-week or month-long residency somewhere. My first weekend will be in March. I'll be rather local, but far enough away to feel like a tourist, and I will be staying in quite a lovely historic inn with a library equipped with a fireplace.
Wakeman-Linn's advice is along the lines of what I'd been planning: several books, a notebook, my laptop, a couple of bottles of wine for the room, time for gallery-hopping and coffee shop lazing. Perhaps even a short massage at a local spa to get the qi flowing. Sigh. All for a mere fraction of the total sum of conference fees, hotel charges and airline prices.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a little sad to be missing all the excitement surrounding the AWP conference this year, especially since I know so many folks who will be going. I've gone the past two years in a row and have loved every manic moment. However, in feeling like I needed to "get my money's worth" out of the conference, I spent as much time as possible in interesting panel discussions, attending readings by authors whose work I've loved for years, and wandering gape-mouthed around the book fair, snatching up dozens of copies of journals and poetry collections at bargain prices.
But all that business left me little time to just chill in my hotel room really getting down to the "writing" part of being a writer. So, this year, I'm foregoing the business side of things to focus on the creative side.
Drink one for me in the windy city if you're going! I hope to catch up with you in Denver in 2010...