This weekend I attended the local writers' festival and have come home inspired. I will definitely be going next year. What does a writers' festival offer and why is it worth attending?
The first Australian writers' festival was held in 1960 as a component of the Adelaide Arts Festival which was brand new back then. Every writers' festival will be different depending on the needs of writers who will be attending and the wider community.
A writers' festival may include talks by authors, a book launch or two, workshops about the writing process, hints on self publishing, information about getting a contract with a publishing house, poetry readings, how writers can use social media and much more. It is likely some events will be free and others will involve a cost but it will be money well spent.
Some festivals are aimed at a sub group of writers such as young or emerging writers. Others have a general focus.
A writers' festival gives the community an opportunity to meet authors, listen to them talk and ask questions. It can encourage people to read more.
These events are a wonderful way for writers to get together, whether they are just starting out or experienced. Writing is a solitary activity and writers benefit from interacting with others with a shared passion. As well as learning from the speakers, writers learn from each other.
Having a common interest makes it easy to find new friends. Whatever problem a writer is having with their writing, someone else will be experiencing it. Somebody in the group will have worked out how to deal with that challenge and can pass on useful information.
It is a wonderful chance to discuss various aspects of writing and get motivated to carry on with current projects and attempt something different. The enthusiasm of other writers boosts the energy of those attending. If you are suffering long term writer's block or need inspiration, attend a writers' festival for a boost of creativity.
In workshops one sometimes gets to do some writing. The participants may be invited to read aloud what they have written, if they so wish. It is a different experience to hear what someone has written instead of reading it. Sharing newly created pieces inspires one to use words differently and experiment.
I think I was lucky to be attending this local festival while it is still in its formative stage, this being only the second year. We were able to gather in a wonderful local cafe/art gallery for some events and at a hotel with country atmosphere and soul for other activities. There was a feeling of intimacy and friendship to add to the wonderful experience of the weekend. An added plus was the superb food available.
If you have an interest in writing or reading it is well worth attending events at a writers' festival.