1. Cascade Writers Workshop is a local non-audition, non-profit workshop that draws writers from around the country but still has a strong community presence.
2. It has professional writers, editors, and agents teaching the workshops and panels, so you know you’re getting good information from good sources.
3. It’s relatively small. This is great, because this means you have opportunities to bump into people again and again, to really make friends and get to know other people in the workshop. It’s also friendlier to people who are shy and awkward (like I am sometimes, though I try hard to make up for it) or people who are anxious.
4. It’s a weekend workshop, which is much more doable for people with jobs and families than other, longer workshops. I only had to take a day and a half off work in order to attend. Some people could not attend Friday because they were working but found value in the Saturday events.
5. It has scholarships (as well as scholarships for people of color) and the organizers are helpful when it comes to assisting with arrangements for those who may have financial limitations.
6. It’s got a supportive and inclusive environment for many types of people as well as many types of writers. I found the indie and trad published writers all to be very supportive of one another’s career paths. Although the workshop did have a spec fiction emphasis, writers who wrote mystery, thriller, women’s fiction, memoir, etc., were also welcome. I always like it when the emphasis is not on what you do but learning how to do it right.
7. I learned about my weaknesses and strengths as a writer (even from something so small as the flash edit – though I already said thanks in person to Claire Eddy and Beth Meacham, thanks again!), which means now I have a more targeted way to work on improving myself. It’s refreshing to come away with new information, especially because I have been learning about writing for so long, read so many books about it, and have attended other workshops like Clarion and Writers of the Future.
I had a great time there – thank you again, to the organizers – and would like to say that Cascade is also offering a special rate ($200 to attend), if you sign up early for next year’s event, which will be taking place at the end of June. You can email them if you’re interested.