So I'm debating taking a creative writing class at the local community college here in town. I don't know much about the prof's (getting back into my cool college lingo here) qualifications, but I can't imagine the class wouldn't do me some good. I know I've learned a lot already from all the bloggers around the hinterwebs (I'm just making words up now), but putting it into a classroom format and testing it in writing exercises will really help me solidify the knowledge in my admittedly mushy brain. In fact, I want to start the class now, but it doesn't actually start until the fall. So...bootastic.
Sierra wrote a good post about attending conferences and seminars to build up experience, and another blog (which I can't remember, see: mushy brain) made the very good point that if you take yourself seriously and are truly aiming for a career as a writer, you should attend workshops that will strengthen and hone your abilities. Like work training sessions or continuing legal education for lawyers or watching Secret Diary of a Call Girl for call girls. The obvious hurdle to jump in these situations is the cost of attending said workshops. The class I'm contemplating here isn't prohibitively expensive, and it's an entire semester, so I feel pretty good about the investment. I'd also guess that some conferences and workshops are better than others depending on your skill level and manuscript preparedness. For me, right now, I'm just trying to get the durn thing done, so smooching up to an agent isn't a good idea for me right now. That's all tease, no follow through.
This is a bit of a wandering post as I've now gone two days without coffee (what the hell was I thinking?!), but I'd love some weigh in on this one. What are your recommendations for conferences, workshops, etc.? Which ones have you gotten the most mileage out of for your writing? What tips would you have for a newbie (a la pens, paper, business cards, chocolate bars, etc.) on what to bring and how to prepare?