Monday, February 22, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Attend a Writing 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 writer's 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 writer’s conference.

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 (Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer's Conference) to meet my writing buddy  and critique partner,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.

This year, I'll be on staff at several writing conferences.

March 26 & 27
Foothills Writer's Guild Conference
Anderson University
Anderson, South Carolina
Foothills Writer's Guild 2010 Conference Info

May 16- 20
Blue Ridge Christian Writer's Conference
Ridgecrest Conference Center
Black Mountain, North Carolina
Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer's Conference

If you find your apetite whetted for a writing conference, another good resource is Shaw Guides.

I hope to meet you in person!
Don't forget to join the conversation,


  1. Well said. Especially the part about misery loves company :) It is true that we are encouraged by seeing that we are not alone. Knowing that others struggle through this process has kept me from tossing my hands up. It also has inspired me to network - which is keeping me from being the writer in a box. I have enjoyed reaching out to others and getting to know fellow writers. I probably would not have done this if I had not been forced to look at networking as a necessary tool in writing. Now I'm finding that the new relationships make the struggle worth the hassles.

  2. You're so right, Eddie, the relationships alone make it all worth while!

  3. Great post, Edie! And yes, I'm so thankful I attended Blue Ridge way back when. Otherwise I may still be trying to find someone who gets this writing thing!