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Central Coast Writers Conference provides resource for aspiring authors

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Central Coast Writers Conference welcoming banner at Cuesta College. Photo by Ellie Thomas

Every year for the past 35 years, Cuesta College has hosted the Central Coast Writers Conference (CCWC).  

The conference was hosted the last weekend of September and provided classes, critiques, keynotes, and connections for a host of writers. 

Costs included $300 for the Friday and Saturday writers conference workshops, $180 for the teen program, $50 for the networking event, and $50 for the master classes.  

Writers magazine voted it, “California’s Best Writers conference.”

Location

The Central Coast Writers Conference was hosted at Cuesta College, using the Harold J Miossi Cultural and Performing Arts center, the Cuesta cafeteria, and the Humanities Forum.  

The only exception was the Friday night networking party, which was hosted at Inn At Morro Bay.  

CCWC opening keynote speaker Sam Horn. Photo by Meagan Friberg

Masterclasses and Workshops

The conference workshops covered a variety of writing-related topics including:

  • Beginner
  • Memoir
  • Novel Writing
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Childrens/YA
  • Marketing
  • Writing for the screen
  • Publishing and agents 

Each workshop was an hour long, and was taught by a professional in the field.  

In addition to the workshops, the CCWC also hosts master classes for an additional $50.  These master classes give writers a chance to acquire information on their field in a more personal setting.

Keynotes

The first keynote, “Creativity Under Pressure,” was hosted Thursday evening and featured seven writing industry professionals: Monica Piper, Ricky Roxburgh, Ross Brown, Donald H. Hewitt, Linda Aronson, Phil Cousineau, and Wendy Thies-Sell. 

The opening keynote Friday was themed, “Someday Is Not A Day In The Week.”  The presenter was Sam Horn who wrote a book with the same title. Authors who actively participated in the keynote walked out with a definitive 2020 publishing date for their books.  

The final keynote was titled, “Lose the Stress and Roll With The Punchlines,” and was presented by Monica Piper.  The ending keynote delivered comedy as well as tips and techniques to conquer stress and be more productive.

Private critique sessions

In addition to workshops, conference attendees have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a professional of their choice for a 15 minute session.  

The attendee could submit a work of poetry, prose, or screenwriting.  They could then choose a professional who would critique their work based on their preferred genre.

The first session was free with conference sign up.  Additional ones were $10 each.

Teen Program

The Teen Program, which has seen some growth in recent years, was available for younger authors. 

The program featured an exclusive session with screenwriter Ricky Roxburgh, whose credits include the disney film, “Tangled.”  

The session started at 6 p.m., which helped teens who attend school.  The topic was screenwriting, and those who attended learned the skills to make a 10-minute movie script.  Teens were able to submit their script, and the winner will have their film shown at the SLO International Film Festival.

Scholarships and enrollment numbers 

In total, according to CCWC Marketing and PR Specialist Becky Mosgofian, the conference had 350 writers enrolled, all of whom were at various stages of their writing journey.  

Nearly every writing genre, from fantasy to nonfiction, was present, with everyone’s projects ranging from screenwriting to literature.  

To help those who could not afford it, the following groups and companies offered scholarships:SoCreate: Screenwriting For Everyone, Chevron, County Of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries, Anna Unkovich, Paul Gahey, 

Chris and Jamie Mclain, and Pacific Wildlife care

Mosgofian was happy to report that all scholarships were used.

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