Posts Tagged ‘K.J. Scrim’

Writing Conferences are a Must!

By: K.J. Scrim

Pikes Peak Writers Conference logo - 2021

No matter where you are in your writing career you should attend at least one writing conference every year. For every writer in the world there are just as many reasons to rub elbows with fellow authors and industry professionals. You may say, “I can learn all this stuff online.” You cannot. Granted there are many aspects of writing you can learn online, but there is so much more to writing beyond what you might be able to glean from asking Google.

Here are just a few:

Learn your craft.

  • You have the opportunity to hear from writing professionals who can help take the mystery out of the publishing industry.
  • There is a plethora of subjects covered such as, how to find an agent, building your author platform, how to break into publishing, or grammar and style.
  • Even though you will find a lot of knowledge about writing online, it doesn’t compare to the in-depth knowledge during in-person or virtual sessions.
  • Most conferences have critique breakout sessions where you receive immediate feedback on your work in progress.
  • You gain not only writing knowledge, but also learn the business aspects from professionals.

Be around your people.

  • You will meet, talk, and listen to industry professionals such as editors and agents along with fellow writers who have walked the same path.
  • Sometimes you just need to talk to someone else who really understands the life of a writer.
  • Their struggles might be your struggles. This kind of support is invaluable.
  • Forge new friendships in the writing community. You aren’t alone in your career.
  • It is a non-threatening environment to share your writing with others.
  • Reinvigorates your spirit to write your story after talking to so many other great writers.

What about the financial aspect?

  • No one should be left out of a conference if they are financially strapped. Many conferences offer full or partial scholarships to help ease any financial burden you may have.
  • Conferences do cost money but look at it as an investment in yourself and your future as a writer.
  • The person-to-person connections you make are financially invaluable. You may meet the agent of your dreams or find the solution to some aspect of writing you have been wracking your brain over. These serendipitous connections can only be found at a writing conference.
  • The facilitators are professionals, just like a professor in any university. Not all education is free. Remember, this is a professional career and if you approach it that way, the conference fees are just a part of it.

Mytchel Chandler, Pikes Peak Writers’ BoD Secretary, said it best, “Conferences are special for writers the same way comic con is for pop culture enthusiasts. It reminds you that you’re part of a community and re-energizes your self-esteem. While a virtual conference doesn’t quite have the sparkle of hallway conversations and bar-con blunderings, it does give you the sense of pride and satisfaction of being present in the moment. Conferences are amazing to attend because of the connections you make and the wealth of knowledge you’re able to glean from those connections.” 

Are you ready to find your next writers conference? Here are a few resources to take a look at:

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2021 – Pikes Peak Writers Conference was founded in 1993 by author Jimmie Butler under the auspices and sponsorship of the Friends of Pikes Peak Library. PPWC2021’s theme is Bet on Yourself. “After a tumultuous 2020, one that stilted creativity and silenced muses, many of us need a fresh start and renewed confidence in our gift to tell our stories. So, in 2021, we at Pikes Peak Writers want you to Bet on Yourself, it’s a sure-fire win!”

Top 25 Writers Conferences for 2021 – This is a great listing of conferences around the country, many of which are virtual, but still valuable!

Writers’ Conferences in North America – This is a very complete list of conferences all over North America.


KJ Scrim, head shot

Kathie Scrimgeour writes under the pseudonym K.J. Scrim. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors with PPW, she is also the Managing Editor of Writing from the Peak (PPW’s blog) and the Project Manager of PPW’s first anthology, Fresh Starts. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. You can follow her on her website, KJScrim.com and on Facebook. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, skiing, or rock climbing. 

PPWC2019 – Reflections

Although PPWC2019 fell into the history books almost a month ago, the buzz is still electrifying. Here are just a few things people had to say:

“There’s a reason PPWC is one of the longest-standing and productive writing conferences in the country. The level of talent, professionalism, access to both industry leaders and Mother Nature create the ideal opportunity for writers at all levels to move ahead in craft and career.” ~~Susan Wiggs, New York Times best-selling author

What really stood out at PPWC was the clear affection that attendees felt for each other.  Clearly, many were experienced veterans of the conference, and they were so happy to see each other again.  And still, they were very inclusive of new people.  Plus, present company notwithstanding, I thought the programming and the level of instruction to be phenomenal. ~~John Gilstrap, New York Times bestselling author

I’ve attended the Southern California Writers Conference a couple of times, and while the workshops are on par with PPWC, they don’t include meals into the conference (except for the Saturday night banquet), so I’m very happy PPWC does that! It’s nice to be able to talk with authors and faculty there in an informal setting. They’re pretty normal, in a nerdy sort of way–like us! ~Margena Holmes, Author

PPWC has long been my favorite conference to attend. It was the first writers conference I ever went to–as an attendee in 2007–and it set the bar high for others. I’m always thrilled when I get to come back as faculty and reunite with so many familiar faces, be part of the top-notch presentations you offer (one of the many reasons I adore PPWC), and be around such an enthusiastic, supportive, focused group of writers. This past year, as I always do, I filled my days when I wasn’t presenting attending the presentations of others–I learn so much there every time. And I am inspired and charged up every time I come by the authors I get to work with in my workshops–everyone is so fully engaged, dedicated to their craft, and wonderfully interactive. It’s also one of my favorite places to lead workshops. Coming to PPWC is like coming home, every time. ~Tiffany Yates Martin, Editor/Owner, FoxPrint Editorial

PPWC 2019 was my first time teaching at a writers conference, a longtime goal of mine. I was a little nervous, until I realized just how friendly and enthusiastic all the attendees were. Everyone at PPWC came with an open mind, ready to learn new things and build their writing skills. I was so impressed by the knowledge and curiosity of everyone who attended my classes–I think I learned more from them than they learned from me! ~Rachel Craft, Author

As I sit at home, drinking a hot mug of coffee, I like to reflect on the things I’ve learned, the people I’ve met and the knowledge I’ve acquired. I try to process it all and allow it to motivate my writing. By the end of that first cup of Joe, I want to write all the things. I want to finish my manuscript, edit another and submit to every anthology. ~Jason Henry Evans, Author

I thoroughly enjoyed the presentations and workshops I was able to attend; the faculty was top-notch. And who can leave out the networking benefits of Barcon?  But ultimately, the very best part of PPWC was the friendships I made.  Writing can be such a lonely thing, but I have now gathered my tribe!  ~Kate V. Conway, Author

PPWC2019 met all of my expectations. My favorite quote from the weekend came from John Gilstrap when he said, “Don’t write a book – tell a story.” My favorite class was…ALL of them. So much information filled my notebook with knowledge and my mind with ideas. My favorite thing to do? Volunteer. I have been on the Query team since my first conference in 2012. It is a great way to contribute to this amazing event. These reasons (and many more) are why I return year after year. ~K.J. Scrim, Editor PPW Blog and Author

For the six years I’ve been attending PPWC, I’ve heard how the Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference is one of the best, friendliest, and most respected conferences in the country, and while I believed my astute fellow conference volunteers, I am bred from the school of trust but verify. So, this year, when I was approached by many editors/agents, as well as all of the keynotes, I requested details when they told me how happy they were to attend a PPW Conference.

In summary, this is what I was told:
–The variety of material, genre, and skill levels catered to by the workshops, invited guests, and keynotes. A little something for everyone.

–The amount of coordination and organization conducted prior to and during conference by the conference volunteers.  “I can’t believe this is all done by volunteers”.

–The overall vibe of the conference is positive and light. We are able to maintain a joviality throughout the days and nights, something that is rare as time presses on.
~Kameron Claire, PPW President and Author

Letter from the Editor

Kathie KJ ScrimHello Pikes Peak Writers! My name is Kathie Scrimgeour (writing under the name K.J. Scrim) and I have taken the reins of Managing Editor From the Editorfor PPW’s blog. I have been the Sweet Success coordinator since 2013 and last year started the column, Meet the Members. When Gabrielle asked if I would be interested in taking over for her, it only seemed to be a natural transition.

PPW is an organization that is here to help all of us learn the craft of writing, editing, and publishing whether it is an epic five book high fantasy or a twenty-word flash fiction. Our blog is a wonderful resource to learn not only tips and tricks to be a better writer, but also a place for moral support and sometimes a few laughs.

As Managing Editor, I will strive for professional, fun, and informative content, and, in the same breath, ask for your help to reach these goals. We are accepting submissions from all members on all aspects of writing. Did you have an “ah-ha” moment at a Write Brain? We would love to hear about it. Have you struggled through writer’s block? How did you get through it? Have you ever had a book optioned for film? Been through a publishing nightmare? Experienced the difference between traditional and self-publishing? Do you know Scrivener, WordPress, or Blogger? What about PPW’s conference? What experiences have you had? These are just a few questions that you could share your experiences through. I am also open to all suggestions. Please contact me at editor@pikespeakwriters.com.

We are going to have a great time together here on Writing from the Peak. This month look for Barb Nickless’ post Devil in the Details, along with Jennifer Lovette’s piece on Facebook algorithms and Jasons Evans’ next installment about villains in historical fiction, plus more!
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