Two upcoming writing events very worth your time

I think I could write a story every week about some awesome person I know who’s doing something fabulous that I want more people to know about. (And what’s stopping me, I suppose?!)

This week is even more fabulous-er than usual, because I have not one but two admirable friends’ events to shout out, AND they’re both really useful and enjoyable writing events!

Tracy Sayre

A picture of Tracy that is unrelated to the conference, but that is super fun

Coming right up, next Saturday, April 9 in Manhattan, I can recommend Tracy Sayre‘s fifth Writers Work conference to writers of many stripes: novelists, short story peeps, anyone curious to learn more about the publishing world, and on from there.

I’ve been to at least two of Tracy’s epic conferences and spoken at one, and am happy to say with utmost surety that you will get your time and money’s worth. Tracy is uber-connected, super-serious, and hardcore-dedicated to her mission of helping writers develop their craft, career, and community.

The April 9 conference will include a pitching workshop, an online marketing tutorial, and talks by a former New York Times editor, a multi-bestselling author of thrillers, and publishing industry mavens galore. See lots more info and sign up here.

Danielle DeTiberus and Ryan Schenck

Danielle and her pardner Ryan outside my apartment before her reading at The New School with Sherman Alexie last fall!

Coming up a little later, June 18 to 25 (which is good, because you’ll need time to pack your bags and get a base tan!) is the Best American Poetry-anthologized, Charleston School of the Arts-teaching, Program Chair of The Poetry Society of South Carolina Danielle DeTiberus‘s first writing retreat! With yoga! In COSTA RICA! If I weren’t already getting married this year, taking a trip to Russia, and possibly trying to buy a house, I would be there in a heartbeat.

“Whether delighting in the view from the mountain top, coming to the mat, or giving your breath a voice on the page,” reads the event info, “we will find our strength, our creativity, and our intuition.” Plus the whole thing is called “Elevated Union: A Yoga and Writing Retreat. Shifting Perspectives on the Mat, on the Page, and on the Path.” Sounds dope, right?! You can see some mesmerizing photos of the tropical venue and surroundings, read more about the retreat, and get sign-up info here.

Lastly it wouldn’t be April Fool’s Day without a little fun for fun’s sake, right? Well, as usual, you’ve come to the right place for that! Anyone who’s still reading this far down is cordially invited to Neil Totton‘s and my joint birthday party in Hell’s Kitchen tomorrow night!! Here’s the flyer. Bring your A game! (Or your B game; we’re not picky.)

Neil Totton April Greene aries birthday party

Essence of Self: not just a spa in New Jersey

I chanced to peep a sign reading Essence of Self across the street from the Ringwood, New Jersey Park-n-Ride this past weekend, on my way to my first solo writing retreat. My first thought was “Awesome name!” My second was, “Hey, maybe it’s also significant…”

I decided to go on a weekend writing retreat by myself because: a) I’ve heard from many other writers that they’re super beneficial, b) I wanted to earmark some time to work specifically on the personal writing endeavors I’d lately been neglecting (namely my journal and a story about a guy I met who hands out these funny business cards), and c) I’m smitten with the idea of one day embarking on a longer-term silent meditation retreat, but know I don’t have the cojones yet. Baby steps!

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What I found following my sunny 36-ish hours at the pretty amazing Castle at Skylands Manor (yes! I stayed in a Castle!! somehow, it wasn’t expensive) was:

  • A renewed appreciation for the sound of water bubbling up from a fountain
  • A renewed appreciation for my busy, wonderful life in the city
  • A reminder that bug spray season is here
  • At least 10 new big-ass journal pages had been filled with tightly-spaced handwriting
  • The realization that even if the only book I ever publish is a self-bound volume that describes years of my travels and social life in unnecessary detail, I’ll still be very happy (because that’s apparently the kind of thing I love to read)

All in all, time well spent. Now, back to the incessant ice cream truck jingles and sooty windowsills of my home in Williamsburg!

Fellow scribes (or anyone): Have you gone on a solo creative-type retreat somewhere? What was it like?