If your intentions are to be a writing professional of any kind, it's important to get some form of professional guidance. Self-taught only goes so far. Natural talent only goes so far. You need to accept that you have things to learn.
That was a hard lesson I swallowed when I first attended the ArmadilloCon Writers' Workshop back in 2005. I went expecting little more than praise for my brilliant first chapter, and instead I got savaged. Rightfully savaged.
Now, if your intentions are specifically geared toward writing Genre Fiction, there are some fabulous options out there. Clarion, Odyssey, Viable Paradise are some of the big ones. If you can manage the tuition and time commitments involved any of those, I would heartily recommend any and all. But those are big commitments. Thousands of dollars, and commitments ranging up to six weeks. Not everyone can pull those off. It usually takes a fair amount of privilege to manage to do them.
Which is why the ArmadilloCon Writers' Workshop is so important to me and the community. It offers a similar workshop opportunity-- working with real genre writing professionals-- with a small commitment of time and money. And the value you get for it is immense. Can you manage a 3-day weekend in Austin? Then you owe it to yourself to look into this workshop. It's a one-day intensive on Friday, July 29th, followed by the rest of ArmadilloCon that weekend.
This year we've got an excellent line-up of instructors. In addition to myself, we have the executive editor of Saga Press, Joe Monti. We have two-time Campbell nominee Stina Leicht. We have Nebula nominee E.J. Fischer. Phillip K. Dick nominee Marguerite Reed! Bram Stoker nominee Joe McKinney! We have Amanda Downum, Tex Thompson, Patrice Sarath, K.G. Jewell, Mark Finn, and more.
This is a fantastic program, won which I am personally invested in, as I consider it a key stepping stone on my path to publication.
Here is more information on the Workshop, including the registration links. Deadline for submission is June 15th! Hope to see you there. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!