Writers group to hold all-levels conference

Daylong event fosters productivity

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If you go

What: A Day for Writers, presented by the Steamboat Springs Writers Group

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. July 19

Where: The Depot Art Center,

13th Street

Cost: $60 registration fee; post-conference barbecue gathering is $25; conference registration is limited

Call: Harriet Freiberger at 879-8138

Online: For more information about the Day for Writers and Steamboat Springs Writers Group, go to www.steamboatwrit...

— There is no speaker's podium at Steamboat Springs Writers Group meetings, or at the group's annual Day for Writers.

In part, that is because it makes more sense to have featured authors sit around a table with the 35 writers they are coaching than it does to have those authors speaking from higher ground. The lack of a podium also speaks to the purpose of the conference, which is to help writers of all levels work through their difficulties to become more productive.

"I think the informality of it makes it progress," said writers group member Susan de Wardt. "Because of that intimate environment, there is a real collaborative tendency, and that doesn't really exist in bigger conferences."

On July 19, the group hosts fiction authors Robert McBrearty and Tom LaMarr for a day of workshops on finding strengths and hiding weaknesses in writing, using humor and writing dramatic scenes. There are a few spots left on the conference roster. Now in its 27th year, the conference benefits from its 35-person attendance cap, said writers group member Harriet Freiberger.

"It's a working group. It makes new writers confident with taking on what they want to do," Freiberger said. "It's fun, but we're concentrating on what we're trying to do."

Compared to larger conferences with more big-name authors and more attendees, the Day for Writers fosters productivity and close connections between speakers and writers, group member Sandra Sherrod said.

"I think you get a perspective on how you're working, just from other people and the way they've approached their work," Freiberger said.

The conference brings in writers from across Colorado and the United States, and is made up in part by the members of the writers group, who work in memoirs, poetry, travel essays, murder mysteries, magical realism and more or less every other genre of literature. The group looks for the same kind of variety in its conference speakers.

"The variety of writers that we've had and the variety of what they do, there's just an infinite array of writers, and it's interesting to find out what they do," group member Tony Crawford said.

The idea is to encourage writing through sharing ideas, and to get work done, Freiberger said.

"You're a writer even if you haven't had anything published, because you're putting words on paper. It gives you recognition of yourself," she said of the goals of sharing ideas at the conference.

"Writing is such a solitary thing, that it's good to have that exchange."

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