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wikimedia photo attribution ceridwen

There’s an old joke about a priest, a minister and a rabbi who were fishing from a boat in a lake. A few hours into the task the priest decides he has to go to the shore and answer nature’s call so he steps out of the boat and walks across the water to the shoreline. The minister is astounded by this and marvels to himself at the occurrence. While they are waiting for the priest to return the rabbi decides he needs to go to the bushes, too, so he gets out of the boat and walks across the water to the shore. By now the minister is truly astounded and decides if the priest and the rabbi can walk on water their faith must truly be great. Not to be outdone, he decides to get out and walk to shore too. He steps out of the boat and sinks to the bottom. As he sputters to the surface the rabbi looks at the priest and says, “Do you think we should have told him where the rocks are?”

As writers we need to know where the rocks are along our journey—those stepping stones that will take us across the waters of newbies to established writers—because it’s a whole lot easier when we know where the pathway is. Conferences and workshops are great ways to find the rocks that will keep our heads above water as we learn our craft.

Here are some conferences and workshops I’ve found helpful.

American Christian Fiction Writers Conference has many workshops at their annual conference which will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana September 12-15. 2013.

Donald Maass Workshop You can check his website for upcoming appearances, although right now he only has 2012 listed.

David Freeman Beyond Structure workshop is a screenwriting workshop with principles that apply to fiction writing too.

Margie Lawson I took her Empowering Character’s Emotions workshop a number of years ago and would recommend it to any writer. She has several other online classes as well.

Debra Dixon I’d recommend her GMC workshop to all writers. She also does several other workshops, but you have to catch her in person at writers’ meetings or conferences.

Don’t forget your local writers’ groups as great resources for writing workshops. They are often easy to get to, fairly reasonably priced, and a great place to meet other writers. A couple of my favorites are:

Mad Anthony Conference  in Hamilton, Ohio, Columbus Ohio Fiction Writers in Columbus, Ohio and Ohio Valley Romance Writers of America, in Cincinnati Ohio.

Another great resource for conferences and workshops  Shaw Writing guides 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or an accomplished writer, there will always be some point along your trip across the writing lake where you will need to find the stepping stones. We’re never too old, too smart, or too well-published to quit learning.

Do you have a favorite writing workshop you’d like to tell me about?