This time of year writing conferences are gearing up, the faculty has been chosen and the websites are humming, ready to take your reservations. So why attend a writer's conference? Is there anything to be gained? I believe the answer is a resounding, YES.
Personally, I've been attending large conferences for years. And as my experience level has increased so have the benefits from attending. Here are my top ten reasons to attend a writer’s conference this year.
10. Relationships. Writing is all about relationships – your relationship with the reader, with the editor and with other writers.
9. Loneliness. Writing is a lonely business. We need time to socialize with others who get this crazy passion we have with words.
8. Confirmation. We all face doubts as to whether or not we really are a writer. A conference is the best place to confirm that calling and receive support from our peers.
7. Misery loves company. If you have spent any time at all as a writer, you know all about rejection. It helps to hear other people talk about their experiences and realize we all face the same thing.
6. The classes. Where else can you spend hours at a stretch learning about all the different aspects of writing?
5. Late night brainstorming sessions. Many of us keep odd hours as writers, where else can you find others ready to share a cup of coffee and discuss an idea at 2am?
4. Meet your neighbor. Okay, I admit, this one’s personal for me. But I had to go to a writer’s conference to meet my writing buddy Vonda Skelton – who lives less than 3 minutes away!
3. Hang out with the stars. We all have writers we admire and a conference where they are on staff is the perfect place to get to know them.
2. Sharpen that pitch. If you want to pitch an idea, a conference is the perfect place to try it out on other professionals before you send it to the editor.
1. Network, Network, Network. Like I said, writing is all about relationships and its human nature for an editor to prefer someone he’s met to someone he doesn’t know.
So where should you start in your search for a conference? I can recommend quite a few, from experience and reputation. The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and The Southwest Christian Writers Studio for a start. Next week I’ll post about how to choose a conference that’s a good fit for you.
In the meantime, I'm taking your suggestions. What conferences have you enjoyed the most?
Don't forget to join the conversation!