Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Review—Top 10 Reasons to Attend a Writers Conference

Say YES to moving forward by attending a conference!

It's that time of year again. Writing conferences are gearing up, the faculty has been chosen and the websites are humming, ready to take your reservations. So why attend a writers conference? Is there anything to be gained? I believe the answer is an unequivocal yes!

I’ve personally been attending large conferences for 10+ years and smaller ones even longer. And even as my experience level has increased, so have the benefits from attending. Here are my top ten reasons to attend a writers conference.

10. Relationships. Writing is all about relationships – your relationship with the reader, with the editor and with other writers.

Writing can be a lonely business.
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 2 am?

4. Meet your neighbor. Okay, I admit, this one’s personal for me. But I had to go to a writers conference (Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference) to meet my writing buddy  and critique partner,Vonda Skelton – who lives less than 3 minutes away!

Two of my favorite stars, Lynette Eason & Deborah Raney
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.

Now it's your turn, what are some of your favorite conferences? What do you look forward to most about going to a conference?

Don't forget to join the conversation!


  1. Well, of course my all-time favorite conference is the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer Conference. The reasons I love that conference are the fantastic staff, the beautiful setting, and the incredible fellowship. The highlights of my years attending are: Making a new best friend, all because I placed a silly ad for a roommate, finding the best mentor on planet earth (Edie Melson), networking with all those "stars", and who can beat becoming "Al's Angel"? SO cannot wait for May!

  2. Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer Conference is a great conference. I've also been to one in Seattle that was small (less than a 100 participants) and loved it. That's where I met Chip MacGregor the first time. Another great conference a lot of folks don't know about is the Southern Christian Writers Conference held in Tuscaloosa, Al. It's extremely reasonable at $100 and packs a lot of opportunities in it.

    I totally agree that conferences are wonderful investments.

  3. Great reminders! I haven't been to a writer's conference in several years, but am praying/planning to attend BRMCWC in May for ALL the reasons you've listed. Hope to meet you there!

  4. I found all of your reasons to be true when I attended ACFW last year. I'm planning to attend again!

  5. Last year was my first year for attending writers' conferences. They were all great! I learned something different at each one. They were: Christian Writers Boot Camp at the Cove, Write2Ignite! at North Greenville University, and The Writer's Plot at Furman University. Learning new skills and making new friends were definitely my favorite take-aways. Lord willing (and oh, how I hope He is willing!) I'll be at the Blue Ridge Mountain Conference this year.

  6. Edie, running into you (LITERALLY!) at Blue Ridge that day is one of my biggest blessings of life!

  7. I really enjoyed the Blue Ridge conference. I met my wonderful critique partner there!

  8. Can I put in a plug for the Write2Ignite!, pretty please?

    March 15-16 near Greenville, SC. go to

    Thanks, Edie