Every year as March turns into April, I think about cleaning, and, sure, the house comes to mind. The dusting, scouring, airing, washing, and polishing remain secondary concerns to the tilling of the garden beds, the sowing of early crops like lettuce, spinach, and onions. My fingers literally itch to dig in. I find myself wandering from bed to bed, checking the new growth of perennials, pulling the pesky weeds already springing free of winter’s hold. But my thoughts wander beyond these chores to the spring cleaning of my writing life. What do I want to accomplish this year? How can I improve my writing and my outreach? Is there a way to gain new readers, to share the gift of story with more people? And, in the tiny consumer part of my soul — is there a way to make a little more money doing what I love?

I tally up the stories simmering in my mind, list the events I might organize or attend, and weigh the value, in monetary and creative terms, of supporting specific workshops and conferences. Do you, too, look ahead in an attempt to refresh ideas, eliminate the useless clutter, and search for better ways to blend your writing with the other important strands of your life?

Let me recommend one event to you: an August retreat in Yellow Springs, Ohio, recently voted one of the most charming cities in our country! It’s close to home for me, won’t break the bank, features an outstanding faculty, and you get to imbibe the special air of the YS community.

The workshop offers a roster of presenters, successful writers, who care about guiding aspiring writers. It’s an affordable weekend in a setting that encourages your uniqueness and creativity. Check it out!