Checking Out Another Writing Conference Location

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Another hotel I wanted to check for my writing conference (aka Write. Learn. Play. event) in Albuquerque was Hotel Andaluz. It was built and opened by Conrad Hilton in 1939 as the first hotel in Albuquerque and was renovated in 2008.

Previous Experience

I had been here before for an event. This was back when I volunteered to do some writer work for the Creative Startups accelerator program. I liked working in this space and felt it might do well for creative writers.

The positives

I was greeted by Sheila who showed me around to talk about the hotel.  The mezzanine and their library are freely available for anyone to relax and work, the rooms are very nice, and it’s within walking distance to restaurants and downtown. I could easily imagine myself sitting in one of the big leather chairs, writing a short story.

The not so positives

The casitas here (the little rooms in the lobby) are so cool, but they use them as their bar area, as well as the outdoor space that’s available, so drink purchases would be required to work in either of those spaces. The music throughout the hotel open space was pretty loud, although I was told reluctantly that we could ask to have it turned down.

Also, I’ve worked with event planning and training events for many years, so having someone say to me in a serious manner, “Well, make sure you don’t schedule it over Thanksgiving” struck me as a bit condescending.

One more location to check

Hmmm… Well, I have one more place to check out. The Hyatt Albuquerque. I know, it’s just a Hyatt. It doesn’t have a historic or Albuquerque vibe, but I want to give the big place a chance. Soon I’ll make my decision!

If you want to keep up to date on upcoming events and creative ideas, feel free to sign up for duckiemail below.

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Finding the Best Location for a Writing Conference

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I’m sure you know that having the right ambiance for writing is important. If the space is too noisy it can be distracting and as a writer you’ve probably done your own search for the best place to write.

That’s why I decided to personally visit any hotels I book for events. I wanted to know that I could feel happy writing there, and hope that attendees would feel the same way.

The right choices

I first narrowed my choices down. I considered some of the iconic Route 66 motels in Albuquerque, but I found them too noisy and there were no great spaces to sit and write. Then I focused on hotels and narrowed the list down to places that have a presence/ambiance and were close to restaurants and downtown so we could access the train and other options.

Hotel with History

First up was Hotel Parq Central. This hotel was originally built in 1926 as a hospital to serve the people traveling and working on the Santa Fe Railroad. The facade is a beautiful Spanish Colonial and kept original while the interior was completely gutted and rebuilt in 2010.

The minute I walked in I loved it. Bright, clean, quiet and elegant.

I was greeted by the event coordinator, Noelle. Not only was she friendly, but being a creative writer she immediately understood what I was trying to achieve.

Great Spaces

She showed me around to the breakfast room. They have free continental breakfast and the room is left open all day. I’d love to spend some time in the center chair working on my novel!

They even have a separate building that was once the Head Physician’s residence with its own library and porch. In addition, there is a gorgeous lobby and a sunroom. There’s also a 24/7 hot tub, and an outdoor patio that will have heaters in October 2017 (luckily our weather in Albuquerque is pretty mild).

Next Up

I’m already in love, but I have to give the other two places a chance (I’ll be checking in on the Hotel Andaluz and the Hyatt Albuquerque)

I’ll have a decision on this soon. Personally, I can’t wait! This is going to be fun, exciting, and productive!

If you want to be kept up to date on the events as they unfold, sign up for Duckiemail.

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What to do about Boring Writing Conferences

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I was at a writers conference, my mind so numb from sitting down all day that I finally had to go for a walk. The inspirational muse had not bitten all day.

I came across a park where a gathering of neighbors was creating handmade ceramic leaves. The leaves were then affixed to the walls of their park. I was honored that they invited me to join them.

Creative Activity Breeds Creativity

The creative endeavor of designing my own leaf through a project I had never done before gave me new energy. Mid-activity I suddenly had an idea for a new story. A young girl on the search for a distant relative who might have secrets to reveal. A whoosh of dry leaves blowing around her as she walks down the New York city streets.

I stopped to take notes in my writer’s notebook that I carry with me everywhere. Then I finished up the ceramic leaf and made some new friends that day.

Inspiration

On my walk back to the conference, I realized that the experience was exactly what I needed; that and good instructors/facilitators for writing. And that’s when I decided to build a different kind of writer’s workshop.

An event where writers can have time to work on their projects, get feedback and instruction from published authors (who also know how to teach), and have fun activities that actually spur creative ideas. Since then, I’ve read a ton of scientific research about creativity and how to relearn to be creative.

I now have events coming up in Albuquerque throughout 2017 (and Santa Fe in 2018), and I would love your input on what you would like to see. Feel free to comment below or email me, what would you like to see in a creative writer event? Dream Big!

Thanks! Sonja

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