Just wanted to add a quick post about writers’ conferences before continuing with my Writing Life posts.
If you’ve never attended a writers’ conference, perhaps this could be your year! Whether you’re a total novice or advanced writer, you’re sure to come back with some nugget or connection that will make attending a conference worth your while.
Nowadays, there are so many conferences to choose from, you will most likely find one that caters to your specific writing niche or genre. Often, writers who don’t currently have a manuscript in the works will hesitate attending a conference because they feel they aren’t prepared. My advice is, even if you aren’t currently working on anything, if you find a conference that’s a good fit for your genre, there are several reasons you should still attend:
• Networking, networking, networking! That’s really what’s it’s all about in this business anyway, right? You never know who you’ll end up meeting at conferences. I’ve heard stories about writers meeting others writers and becoming co-authors, writers meeting editors and selling their ideas for further review (even without manuscript in hand), and writers meeting publishers who they later submitted–and sold to.
• Advancing your craft. As a writer, you should always be learning something new about your craft. Conferences offer hands-on writing experiences as well as workshops to help you stay on top of new publishing trends–something we all need to know about.
• Writing time. If you’re like most writers, one of the toughest things is actually finding quality time to write. Although writers’ conferences are typically jam packed with activities, there’s still time to be found for writing. Usually, conferences are held in picturesque, resort-like locations, which are perfect for finding peace and solitude to ignite your creativity.
• Ideas. If I get nothing else out of a conference, I always seem to come back with a boatload of new ideas. Ideas about new markets, ideas about new ways of approaching editors and submitting work, or ideas about writing itself. And we can never have too many ideas!
One of the hardest parts about attending a conference is knowing which one to go to. A good start is to find those that are specific to your genre and have a wide variety of faculty to meet with– editors, other writers, publishing staff, agents, marketing experts, etc.
I have compiled a list of various 2010 conferences throughout the U.S. on my Writers’ Resources page. You might also want to check out the Florida Christian Writers’ Conference where I will be teaching March 4-6. Take a look at their blog to read faculty posts for ideas of what to expect at the conference as well as some helpful tips if you do plan on attending.