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The Value of a Writers Conference




The Value of a Writers Conference

andrew mackay

Writing is a solitary endeavor. I wonder how many times I've written those words? It's so often true. One of the things we hear routinely from new authors is "I don't know how to get good feedback on my writing."

The answer I give almost every time is, "Have you been to a good writers conference yet?"

Here are the things that happen at a good writer's conference:

- You meet writers

C. S. Lewis said "Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: 'What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…'” I love watching that very thing happen at writer's conferences. You think, "I have to be the only person interested in how faith engages Zombie books." And then you get to a conference and meet 5 other people who love that conversation. It's awesome. It's good for your soul. If nothing else, you'll feel far less solitary after attending a good writers conference.

- You learn to write better

No matter what you're particular area of interest is, you'll learn how to be a better writer. There's so much information at good conferences that you'll likely feel like you're drinking from a fire house. It's great. I mean, if you're serious about writing as a professional, you should be worried about professional development. There's nothing better than a writers conference for just that.

- You interact with publishing professionals

Writers, editors, agents, oh my? Naw, even better -- you'll find out that they're all normal folks. You'll talk to editors, agents, professional, established writers, and you'll learn from them. Even if it's not time to pitch your book yet, learning from the pros will help you to do well when it IS time to pitch your work.

- You make friends beyond just the conference

I'm all about good strategy: when you're at a conference, make sure you pay attention to where people are from. Chances are, if you go to a conference that's somewhat local, you'll find other writers from your neck-of-the-woods. That's a perfect opportunity to connect beyond the conference. You can build long-term friendships that will help you, encourage you, and sharpen you as a writer.

- You get inspired

Even if you're super introverted and make it through a whole writers conference without speaking a word to someone else (Which, by the way, is... I think... impossible), you'll benefit from the sessions. You'll come away inspired to write more and write better. It will be so good for you.

So, if you haven't done it yet, find a good conference near you and schedule some time off, It'll be great for your writing career.