San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
The Writer Unboxed UnConference is unique.
Part symposium. Part networking affair. Part workshop. Part retreat.
Unlike other conferences, our hybrid event will not focus on the business of writing; there will be no sessions on finding agents or writing query letters or building platform. Instead, our focus will be on the things WU'ers crave most:
- Drilled-down, interactive conversations on craft topics led by trusted WU contributors, including craft gurus Donald Maass and Lisa Cron, and bestselling authors Brunonia Barry and Juliet Marillier
- Mind-stretching sessions to help you understand yourself better as a writer
- Time to interact with peers and group leaders in and outside of sessions, because everyone knows that the best part of a conference happens when the conversation begins
- Time to write, including a 'night-write' session at The House of the Seven Gables
In other words, we're going to lean on our strengths, the qualities that have made Writer Unboxed a strong site and community. We're going to empower you, but this time we're going to empower you in person.
The Writer Unboxed UnConference is intimate.
The UnCon will be able to accommodate 115 attendees, which is a mite bigger than our group in 2014 but not by much. Could we go bigger? Yes, but at this point we prefer to keep things on the smaller side. Our primary focus is on making attendees feel comfortable to be themselves and to be heard and to become known by their writing community; this would be less likely with a much larger group.
The 2016 UnConference, unboxed:
This year's UnConference will be called AUTHOR IN PROGRESS, which is also the title of our first Writer Unboxed book, to be released by Writer's Digest on 11/1. (More on that HERE.)
- ON THE WORDS SESSIONS are all about the craft, with topics that go a level deeper than the norm. For example, you might join a session entitled “learn from the masters: emotional turning points” or "writing true external worlds."
- BETWEEN THE LINES SESSIONS are focused on things outside of the writing itself but that impact it. For example, you may join a session on “the writing life balance” or "how beta-readers can help evolve your work."
- TWO HALF-DAY WORKSHOPS will be presented during the event: one by Lisa Cron on STORY GENIUS, the other by Donald Maass on UNBOXED CRAFT
- EXTRAS (though still evolving) will include the aforementioned "Night Write" at the historic House of the Seven Gables, morning meditations, "hot topic" lunch opportunities with session leaders, walking groups, bedtime stories, and much more. All extras are optional for you to join or not, as you wish.
- WRITING SPACE will be made available to you throughout the event. Join in for quiet group writing in the mornings (“morning coffee”), or anytime.
When and where:
The Writer Unboxed UnConference will kick off on Monday, November 7th in Salem, Massachusetts, and span the week, culminating in a workshop by Donald Maass on Friday, November 11th, our first (only?) Author in Progress book signing, and a wrap-up party. Sessions will take place in The House of the Seven Gables Visitors Center, and the Hawthorne Hotel's Library and Ballroom.
What follows is a rough look at the schedule.
- Monday: check-in between noon and 5 p.m. (EST), followed by a welcome dinner in the ballroom at the Hawthorne Hotel at ~6 p.m. Don't worry about showing up early and having nothing to do. We'll plan some ice-breaker activities for the afternoon, or if you'd rather you can always plug in and start writing.
- Tuesday: a mix of sessions, with the ability to choose between the ON THE WORDS and BETWEEN THE LINES tracks. Extras in development.
- Wednesday: a panel discussion, followed by a four-hour workshop on STORY GENIUS by Lisa Cron (with optional "cold lunch, hot topics"), afternoon sessions, a book signing, and evening extras TBD.
- Thursday: a mix of sessions at the hotel and The House of the Seven Gables. Extras, including Night Writing at The House of the Seven Gables.
- Friday: morning sessions followed by a four-hour workshop on UNBOXED CRAFT with Donald Maass (with optional "cold lunch, hot topics"), a final panel discussion, and a party in the ballroom.
Storytelling meditations with Juliet Marillier, walking groups, and many more initiatives in progress.
What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?
Transportation arrangements are outside the scope of this event, however we're happy to provide you with information.
For those flying into Logan Airport (BOS), there are several tried-and-true options for traveling to the hotel, including use of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and round-trip driving service to Salem.
There will be free parking at the Hawthorne Hotel for those traveling by car. Driving instructions from the airport (and other locations) are available on the hotel’s website.
Another option may be to find others to travel and split fees with in the WU UnConference Facebook group, which you’ll have access to upon registration.
Where should I stay?
We highly recommend that you stay at The Hawthorne Hotel, where most of the event will take place and where we have a block of rooms reserved. Discounted rates will apply for event-goers, with single rooms offered at $149/night and doubles at $169/night. (That aforementioned UnConference Facebook group could be a good place for you to find a roommate, to help alleviate costs.)
The Hawthorne Hotel includes complimentary Internet access via Wi-Fi for all guests.
Room-block code and additional information will be made available to you following registration.
Are any meals included in the event?
Our welcome dinner on Monday is included. Additionally, two lunch-box meals (coinciding with our half-day workshops on Wednesday and Friday) will be available to purchase at a reduced rate (menus below). Morning coffee service will also be made available to attendees.
WEDNESDAY's OPTIONAL BOX LUNCH
FRIDAY's OPTIONAL BOX LUNCH
The event will also be held over Restaurant Week in Salem. Take advantage, and explore some of the city's wonderful restaurants at a low price.
What's the dress code?
This isn't the conference that will require you to pack high heels or shoe polish. We want you to be comfortable! We're also going to ask you to walk a bit, as some of our sessions are in the Hawthorne Hotel and others are at The House of the Seven Gables Visitor's Center, which is about a ten minute walk from the hotel. Pack sneakers.
One exception will be our more formal dinner in the ballroom of the Hawthorne Hotel on Monday night. Wear what you like, but some may enjoy dressing up for the occasion.
What should I bring to the event?
- your laptop if you plan to write, and an extension cord just in case
- a regular notebook for note-taking if you need it; the UnCon will provide a special index-card notebook to help make your lightbulb moments easy to integrate into your manuscript once the event is over
- your manuscript for work sessions and/or if you’d like to share excerpts with others
- layers of clothing, in case of rain or cold, or even a warm snap; early November can be mercurial in the northeast
- sneakers, for walking the cobbled streets of historic Salem
- photo ID
Do I have to bring my printed ticket?
No, but bring photo ID. If you're gifting your ticket to someone else, please inform us ahead of time or your recipient will be turned away at the door.
Why are there fees associated with this event?
Eventbrite charges 2.5% of the price of the event + 99 cents per registration processed. They charge an additional 3% to process credit cards. We simply opted to pass along these fees rather than increase the cost of registration to reflect absorption of those fees. All of the details are available here on Eventbrite.
Is there a deposit?
Yes. Registration commits you to a nonrefundable deposit of $199 that will be applied toward your total fees.
Is there a refund policy?
Yes. Because we have contracts with the hotel regarding our catering needs, our refund policy closely follows theirs to us.
Following is the refund policy for those registering under the Early Bird price of $599. Please note that refunds do not include Eventbrite or credit card fees incurred at registration. Please also note that the following assumes the original purchase was at full price for that time frame; any discounts provided at registration would be factored into the refund equation on a case-by-case basis.
- If you cancel on or before July 31st (100 days prior to the event), you will be refunded all but the $199 deposit, for a total refund of $400.
- If you cancel from August 1st-September 8th (61-99 days prior to the event), you will be refunded 50% of the total, equal to $300.
- If you cancel from September 9th-October 7th, you will be refunded 25% of the total, equal to $150.
- Cancellations after October 4th are not eligible for a refund.
- If you cancel on or before July 31st (100 days prior to the event), you will be refunded all but the $199 deposit, for a total refund of $550.
- If you cancel from August 1st-September 8th (61-99 days prior to the event), you will be refunded 50% of the total, equal to $375.
- If you cancel from September 9th-October 7th, you will be refunded 25% of the total, equal to $188.
- Cancellations after October 4th are not eligible for a refund.
Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?
You can email our dedicated email account at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, registrants will be invited to join a Facebook group for attendees, where you can discuss the event with others. This is highly recommended, as it enables you to get to know your fellow attendees ahead of time.
We hope you're able to join us for WU's second UnConference. Until we see you, write on!
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Therese Walsh is the co-founder and editorial director of Writer Unboxed