This past week, I had the pleasure of attending my very first writers conference. The St. David’s Christian Writers Conference in Grove City is an intimate affair where all sorts of bookish people gather. The theme this year was Created to Create, and though I only attended half-time as a commuter, I left feeling just that.
A conference is something I’d put off over the past year. Fear, anxiety, and perhaps a bit of intimidation at this whole new world I was entering kept me at bay. Seriously…first day of school-type stuff. Once I gained the courage, I decided to bite the bullet and go. Here are 4 solid reasons you should get up and go to a conference yourself. You won’t regret it!
As writers/bloggers/editors, we are never done learning. There are always new techniques and perspectives that can further enhance our work. A conference is a great place to take classes and workshops that hone our craft.
The amount of information I gathered in 3 short days was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I took a class, taught by author/acquisitions editor, Eva Marie Everson. She is also the director of the Florida Christian Writers Conference and President of Word Weavers International (talk about a qualified instructor!). Foundations of Fiction through Film not only forever changed how I view movies and television, but also gave way to an entire new set of writing skills.
Conferences offer a seemingly never-ending amount of resources you can access to better your projects. From agents to editors to critique groups, opportunities to have your work looked over aren’t hard to find. Using those chances to receive constructive criticism can only help you.
I had the opportunity to meet with Jim Hart from Hartline Literary Agency at St. David’s. His expertise enabled me to understand the process of acquiring an agent and the challenges many agents and writers face when shopping a book for publication.
Though our work is what matters most to us, learning how the industry functions is equally important. What good will dumping all your energy into your project do if you never learn how to navigate the proper routes to publication?
Even if you show up alone, without knowing a single soul there, you are guaranteed to leave a conference with at least one new friend who shares the same interests as you.
I received such a warm welcome at St. David’s, I felt completely silly for ever being nervous in the first place.
If you’re a writer, you’ll meet other writers. Blogger-other bloggers. Editor-other editors. These are your people! Go. Meet them. Develop friendships. Because friendship in the competitive world of books isn’t just the cherry on top of a meticulously built sundae, it’s a necessity.
Writing is hard. Having support makes it easier.
Conferences aren’t all work and no play.
From pink-sequined hats to weather reports through interpretive dance, St. David’s offered up a level of merriment I hadn’t experienced in months.
Writing a book is serious business. Taking the time to let loose and have a little fun, all while learning new ways to sharpen your skills, lightens the load.
So, what are you waiting for? Go! Get yourself to a conference!
Been to a conference recently? Tell us about it in the comments!