Michael Martone said one of the most useful pieces of advice he received about writing was "to lower my standards."
"Wanting only to write what is good or great or perfect leads to not writing," said the award-winning author and University of Alabama professor. "I am all for quantity, not quality. And the act of writing, the practice of writing is the end in itself, not the means to an end."
Practical writing advice will be plentiful June 5-9 during the 2013 Writers @ Work conference, an annual event designed to promote and support a creative writing community.
Writers @ Work was founded in 1984 when Dolly Makoff, the owner of Dolly's Bookstore in Park City, approached writer/editor James Thomas about the possibility of a writers conference, according to the conference website, writersatwork.org/wp/
Through the years, conferences have been held in Park City, and more recently at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. This year it moves to the historic Alta Lodge.
During the five-day event, workshops and discussions will be led by award-winning writers, including Utah poet Katharine Coles, fiction writer John Dufresne, nonfiction specialist Christopher Merrill and a multigenre writer, Martone, whose stories and essays have been cited in the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Stories and The Best American Essays anthologies.
Participants also will have a chance to meet individually with agents and editors as well as this year's visiting writer, Nicole Walker, who received her doctorate from the University of Utah and currently teaches at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Her book Quench Your Thirst With Salt won the 2011 Zone 3 nonfiction prize and will be published in 2013.
The final night will features a free panel discussion on a new literary genre: flash fiction, which is now prevalent in creative-writing classrooms and workshops. The panel of editors and authors will try to answer questions about what it is and where it came from. The discussion is open to the public.
Writers @ Work
Whether you're a beginning writer or ready to submit a manuscript, this annual conference offers ways to improve your writing and navigate the publishing world.
When • Wednesday through Sunday, June 5-9.
Where • Alta Lodge, Alta.
Cost • $675 without lodging; $770-$940 with lodging. Includes all meals.
Details • writersatwork.org/wp/
Free event • A free panel discussion, open to the public, takes place Saturday, June 8, on flash fiction, a new writing genre.