5 Reasons to Attend The 2016 Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference

"Writing is hard, but it’s a little easier when you know you’re in good company."


1. Expand Your Abilities

Are you relatively new to the genre? Or are you a grizzled veteran with a dozen books and hundreds of bylines to your credit? Are you the type of writer who is all about self-exploration? Or is your background firmly rooted in the journalistic end of the nonfiction spectrum?

Perfect. We’ve got something for you.

Regardless of your skill-set or background, the 2016 Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference is the ideal setting to get out of your comfort zone, stretch your writing muscles, and explore new forms and tactics.

If you’re a personal writer, now’s your chance to sharpen your writing chops. Our “Interview Techniques” and “Pitch-Writing Boot Camp” master classes on Friday will give you the practical tools you need to enhance your memoir or personal essay. And the “Flash Essays & the Art of the Metaphor” master class is the perfect antidote for journalistic types looking to shatter the inverted pyramid and have a little more fun with language and form.

2. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Great writing is the foundation for more than just great books. Saturday’s presentations are capped off with our “Adapting Your Story” panel, which features an executive producer from NPR, a Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary filmmaker, a playwright, and a live storyteller—all sharing their expertise in non-written forms of nonfiction storytelling.

3. Structure, Structure, Structure

So you have a great idea and the beginnings of a story, but how do you piece it all together? It’s all about that structure. Creative Nonfiction founding editor Lee Gutkind’s “Structure for Longform Nonfiction” will give you a variety of options for structuring a longer work, whether it’s memoir, journalism, or a longform essay or article.

Or maybe you have a draft of a book, but the idea of revising such a massive text is daunting. In Saturday’s “Your Book, Chapter by Chapter,” author, teacher, and CNF mentor Lise Funderberg discusses how to obtain the critical distance you need to successfully evaluate your own work and provides an overview of some major steps to revising a book-length work.

Writing is hard, but it’s a little easier when you know you’re in good company.

4. Practical Strategies from Pros

Most writers don’t have a professional editor, agent, or publicist to call on when they’ve finished a piece and need feedback. No problem.

With panels designed to allow attendees to “Ask an Editor” and “Ask an Agent,” we’ve got answers. Just bring your questions.

And what’s more, Sunday is all about that crucial last step: getting published. This final day of the conference wraps up with tips on building a marketing platform, pitching to editors, and writing book proposals.

5. Learn to Play the Field

So you found the right structure for your piece, revised until you can’t see straight, and now you’re ready to send your story out into the world … but the options can be paralyzing. How do you decide where to send your work? what editors to approach? how to describe your project? Sunday’s sessions will cover everything from platform building to freelancing to self-publishing, with a special session on writing book proposals.

If you’d like even more personal feedback, you can sign up for a one-on-one session with an agent or publishing consultant to discuss your book idea, or just chat generally about your publishing questions with an insider.

BONUS REASON: A Toast to New Friendships

Some of the best ideas come during casual conversation with new friends. Each day of the conference ends with an informal happy hour where you can share a snack or drink with our esteemed presenters, other conference attendees, and CNF staff. You’ll also have time throughout the conference—during breakfast and lunch, and in-between sessions—to socialize and continue on-going conversations.

Writing is hard, but it’s a little easier when you know you’re in good company.


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