February is undisputedly the worst month. It’s cold, it’s got a weird number of days (not always consistently), and it’s got Valentine’s Day, the holiday corporations invented to remind you how lonely you are. T. S. Eliot famously named it “the cruelest month”. Use your loneliness to your advantage and book yourself a tour of this tiny misshapen month’s writers’ conferences. At the very least it’ll kill some time until it’s March.
Free-Write Fling (February 1–28)
Cynthia Morris can teach you how to write online for $97. So can a Google search, for free. I don’t know, maybe she’s good. Also, it keeps you from having to leave the house during the month of February. Warning: this course runs 3 to 4 times a year and is listed as lasting 30 days, so once again February cheats you out of a couple days.
Moravian College Writers’ Conference (February 3–4)
The theme is Writing & Sustainability. What, is writing killing the world too?
Keynote speaker Alison Hawthorne Deming’s book Science and Other Poems won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Other presenters have science/writing hybrid backgrounds, and people like Kate Brandes and Benjamin Cohen know the science of sustainability, in addition to the art of writing a good sentence.
22nd Annual South Coast Writers Conference (February 17–18)
Gold Beach, OR
This conference always exploits Presidents’ Day (which my more devoted fans know to be my favorite holiday) for its three-day weekend. Go to a fish fry and a writers’ conference. Enjoy the Golden Beach of the Rogue River. Sounds like a story already!
San Francisco Writers Conference (February 16–19)
San Francisco, CA
Presiding over this one will be keynote speakers Heather Graham (her books have their own signature cover style—that’s when you’ve made it), William Bernhardt (founder of the Red Sneaker Writing Center), and John Perkins (self-confessed economic hit man).
The Asheville Christian Writers Conference Writers Boot Camp (February 17–19)
There’s a large targeted market of Christian readers, hungry for insight, as the authors of The Purpose Driven Life, The Shack, and The Secret can attest. But how to write that book that shares your vision with the world? Maybe the answer is in Asheville, but you’re going to have to PM the host to get on the waiting list, because the conference is SOLD OUT.
Southern California Writers’ Conference (February 17–20)
San Diego, CA
This conference claims to have gotten first-time writers $4 million in book and screen deals. It’s critique driven, with a special unit on developing your novel, from formulating your initial concept and figuring out what genre it is to developing your acts and character arcs. There are many other workshops to hone your writing tools.
SleuthFest (February 23–26)
Boca Raton, FL
What other writers’ conference has a “Forensic Guest of Honor”? Yes, there are pitch sessions. Yes, there are writing craft sessions and critiques. YES, there is bestselling author David Baldacci, but go to learn current forensic techniques, with hands-on workshops.
Writer’s Winter Escape Cruise 2017 (February 26–March 3)
Five days on a boat ought to focus your muse. The cruise leaves Miami for Nassau, Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. There are publishing representatives aboard, and you might all get trapped on a desert island together, or at the mai tai bar. Make your pitch!
Well, that was over before you knew it! February’s saving grace is that it’s short. Get out there and get it done. Before you know it, it’ll be March. I have my own beefs with March (spring, my ass!), but at least it’s not February.