Your Guide to the Los Angeles Writing Scene
Los Angeles is the city where every restaurant server has a screenplay, every street has a palm tree, and the freeways are packed 24/7. To outsiders, the movie industry defines Los Angeles culture and asserts its dominance through the big, bold letters of the Hollywood sign.
Some of the most extraordinary writers the world has ever produced have called Los Angeles home at one time or another. William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald all spent time in Los Angeles.
However, Los Angeles is a city of millions of people, and most of its writers aren’t on a first-name basis with Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese. In fact, many writers living in Los Angeles write website content, create marketing copy, ghostwrite blogs, and work as technical writers when they’re not working on the next, great American novel.
Today, Los Angeles offers its writers amazing places to, in the words of famous writers Nora and Delia Ephron, “mingle and mix and be.” Here are the places and events to remember if you’re a Los Angeles-area writer interested in building a professional network, snagging some new clients, or finding others with a love of the written word.
Upcoming Events in the Los Angeles Writing Scene
As a town where a substantial portion of the economy comes from entertainment, it’s no surprise that Los Angeles hosts several creative conferences each year. The movie, television, and publishing industries consume content at an incredible rate with streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon churning out new, original content daily.
Here are some workshops, conferences, and events to consider, whether you’re a creative writer interested in pitching a television show, or you’re a slick technical writer with expertise in a highly specialized area like aerospace engineering or international trade.
- LitFest Pasadena — Held in the spring each year, LitFest Pasadena is free and features excellent writing activities like flash writing workshops and literary discussions. Events take place in venues like local bookstores and the Pasadena Playhouse.
- Los Angeles Times Festival of Books — Held on the campus of the University of Southern California each year in April, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books attracts thousands of authors, poets, and literary fans to discuss books on every topic imaginable.
- Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference — Held in the summer in late June, this conference puts you in contact with literary agents and publishers, offers social and networking events, and holds informative panels on writing fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting.
Where to Write While in Los Angeles
For many, writing is a solitary activity that takes place in a home office or a venue without interruption. Some writers may find it easy to toss on a pair of headphones and write in the coffee shop down the street, but many writers need the peace and solitude of a personal writing space.
An interesting phenomenon to emerge in recent years is the shared workspace or “coworking” space, and these venues may provide a solo writer with the office space needed to conduct business beyond actual writing tasks, gigs, and assignments.
Here are a few shared workspaces in Los Angeles:
As writers, it’s essential to understand the value of networking, and no locale does more networking than Los Angeles, California. While you may do lunch with a possible client, you might not find that local bistro or coffee shop appropriate for all business meetings.
That’s where shared workspaces can help, particularly if you’re a writer with a home office that’s nothing more than your living room couch. Shared workspaces are an excellent option when you need to infuse your meeting with some professionalism.
Finding Other Writers in Los Angeles
One of the best places to find other writers is the Los Angeles writing section of Meetup. You’ll find groups for screenwriting, creative writing, LGBT writing, and playwriting, as well as hyper-local groups meeting in communities like Los Feliz, Santa Monica, Studio City, and Pasadena.
The Los Angeles Public Library is another terrific resource for writing groups and clubs. You might join the Book Writer’s Group if you have aspirations of becoming a novelist or the Write Away Tuesdays group, which meets weekly.
If you’re a working writer in Los Angeles, you’ll want to learn more about the Independent Writers of Southern California (IWOSC) group, which has hosted events for Southern California writers for more than three decades.
Here are a few of the topics recently under discussion at IWOSC events:
- What Kind of Publishing is Right for Me?
- Writing Health & Wellness
- Writing Memoirs that People Want to Read
Some events are free, but others require the public to pay a small fee to attend. Membership with the IWOSC rewards applicants with free entry to most events. A lifetime membership costs $400, or writers can pay an initial, first-year fee of $85 and then pay $65 each year after that for annual renewal.
Finding Writing Jobs in Los Angeles
One of the benefits of working as a writer is the freedom given to work on staff, independently, or somewhere in between. Writers in Los Angeles commonly work as independent contractors finding “gigs” with local companies, and they also find work as staff writers and editors for local businesses.
With more than 18 million people living in the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, writing jobs are available in virtually every community across the 4,700 square miles of Los Angeles County and beyond. Online job repositories like Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, and Indeed tend to offer the best lists for permanent and long-term work within Greater Los Angeles.
Craigslist will often yield good results for writers looking for temporary writing gigs since Los Angeles is one of the most active and prolific markets for the platform. Content marketing platforms like WriterAccess also provide excellent access to writing assignments that writers can complete from a shared working space, Venice Beach, their living rooms, or the coffee shop down the street.
Kelsey W. began writing content in 2008 after leaving a job at an educational publisher. She’s created thousands of blog posts and articles in the past several years, as well as hundreds of pages of SEO-friendly website content and social media posts. A lifelong gamer and fan of movies, Kelsey has spent several decades learning about, experiencing and commentating on these subjects as they are continuously fascinating. When she’s not watching a movie or reading something about an upcoming release, she’s often found running around outside for fun in marathons.