I know this might be last minute and everything, but given this week's schedule and the recent holiday weekend and all, better late than never. For us writers and for creatives in general, sometimes it is difficult to see the broader arc of our life as a writer. We sit there and scribble or type some words, filling a page and perhaps creating a finished piece of work, but where does it go from there? Do we just create another thing, then another, and so on and so on? Just lather, rinse, repeat? Or is there something more?2021 Printers Row LitFest here in Chicago. It's just south of the heart of the city, and it brings together all kinds of writers and creatives, with local and national (and yes, some international) representation, for a weekend of seminars, readings, panel events and so forth. After last year's event was cancelled (thank you, COVID), the return of LitFest is a welcome treat for us creative types.
Now, as a writer, this kind of event is priceless. However, I will first mention how important this is for the reader in me. As a consumer of the written word, this event is like a walking, talking library. An interactive bookstore. The exhibitors include many local authors and writing groups who are great resources for aspiring writers to talk to and get advice from. Media groups and podcasters are in attendance for the enjoyment of the attendees, and plenty of little groups have raffles and giveaways. Any reader who goes there should come away with at least a few goodies, and hopefully will buy a few books that would otherwise remain hidden in the depths of the internet.
Now as far as writers are concerned, this is where it's at. The speakers alone are worth the price of entry (it's free, but you get the point). As a writer, nothing inspires me more than hearing someone else tell their story about how they were once that person moving from word to word, losing track of what existed beyond that next project. I can look at them and see a part of myself in their story, and I guarantee I always return from these events with a renewed urge to write. My creative batteries are definitely charged after one day at LitFest, and sometimes we all need a little extra boost.
Oh - there are a few publishers there too. If your goal is to get published, these are the people you want to talk to and find out just what the market is looking for, the operations of a local publishing company, and just maybe the chance to pull someone aside and get some inside information from. I checked the exhibitor's list (different from the speaker's list) and there are some good local shops there.
So, in short, I hope that all you writing folks give yourself a little time to go to LitFest and inspire yourself to take another step as a writer. At the very least, give yourself a chance to walk among other writers and realize you are with your peers. Make some contacts and feel the world again. Then go home and do some awesome writing.
(Side note: for those who might have been expecting a post related to 9/11, I recommend you read an earlier post, The Story I Never Wanted to Write. Sometimes posts are a little too painful to create, so instead I offer a link.)