WOWZA! is how WordWrites Guild members described their experiences at the 2013 Midwest Writers Workshop. Four of our members traveled to Muncie, Indiana in late July to participate in this exhilarating – and exhausting – gathering of word-geeks.

Held annually near the Scheumann Stadium at Ball State University, this writer-focused event attracts participants from across the country. Poets; first-time novelists; playwrights; journalists, as well as  Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Christian and other genre-specific writers converge upon the Ball State University’s Alumni Center each summer with notebooks, talent and anticipation.

This year’s guest faculty included John Gilstrap, Barabra Shoup, Lou Harry, Colleen Coble, Hank Nuwer, Hank Phillipi Ryan, Matthew Clemens and D.E. Johnson.

These experienced professionals led Intensive Sessions that ranged in scope from the skills necessary for freelancers,  to guidance in penning great inspirational novels.

Roxane Gay, Kelsey Timmerman, and Jane Friedman … the list of talented wordsmiths goes on and on, and reads like a dream roster of Writers-and-Editors-I-Want-In-My Corner.

Throughout the conference, seasoned experts comfortably mingled with emerging writers. The congenial atmosphere allowed for easy conversation with tax guru Gary Hensley about the current IRS home office allowance. Due to the proximity of professionals to attendees, impromptu “pitch”  opportunities arose with literary agents Victoria Marini and Brooks Sherman, and others.

For writers of any genre, this supportive and demanding experience provides invaluable tips, real-life guidance and creative motivation. There is something quite special about being surrounded by like-minded wordsmiths who are dedicated to honing their craft.

Invest in your talent. Celebrate your passion. Mark your calendar for next year’s Midwest Writers Workshop in July 2014.