Gateway: Living

Officials pleased with inaugural Write in the Harbor conference

The first annual Write in the Harbor conference is being hailed a success by conference coordinators.

Hosted by Tacoma Community College at the Gig Harbor campus on Nov. 6 and 7, the inaugural conference boasted 75 to 80 registered attendees, according to conference coordinator Maria Hays.

“Our initial hope was to have about 50 (attendees),” said Hays, an instructor with TCC’s written communications department. “We were pretty thrilled.”

The conference began with a mixer hour and keynote address by author Garth Stein on Nov. 6, followed with the bulk of the conference activities and workshops held throughout the following day.

Stein, author of the bestseller book “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” kicked off the conference with a keynote address that included some advice for fellow writers, along with a healthy dose of humor.

“You gotta like the process” was Stein’s main advice about writing in his speech.

“The easiest thing to do in the world is not write,” he said. “You have to like writing if you’re gonna be a writer.”

Stein, who also lead the opening workshop for the conference on Nov. 7, took time before the conference began to visit with a class of TCC students studying Adult Basic Education and for the GED on Nov. 6.

“(It was a) great book group meeting,” said Hays, who added that the students had been reading Stein’s book. “It was a great connection (for the students).”

Including TCC students was important for conference coordinators, who provided scholarship for two TCC students to attend the conference without charge.

According to Hays, a goal of the conference is to encourage writing and literary arts not only in the community but also among TCC students.

These literary arts were explored in full on the full day of the conference that featured a wide range of workshops that focused on everything from writing techniques to the business of writing. Workshop presenters included local published authors including Randall Platt, A.C. Fuller, Anna Alexander and Mark Lindquist.

Planning for next years conference is already underway between Hays and Janine Mott, TCC’s executive director of Continuing Education and the Gig Harbor Campus.

“We really love the small conference feel,” Hays said.

The plan for the 2016 conference is to remain small, with space for about 100 attendees, she said.

According to Hays, the TCC continuing education department is hoping to use Write in the Harbor as a brand to offer small conferences and classes on writing throughout the year.

Some Write in the Harbor classes are already on the schedule for the Winter 2016 quarter at TCC.

The 2016 Write in the Harbor conference is set for Nov. 4 and 5. Registration deadlines have not yet been determined.

For more information and updates on Write in the Harbor, visit

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4125, @gateway_andrea