October 03, 2016
5 Reasons to Attend a Writers' Conference
Although I wasn't able to make it to the InScribe conference, I regularly attend Write Canada. Here are five reasons I keep going back:
LEARN NEW SKILLS
Because I'm eclectically interested, I take a variety of classes. What about you? Are you interested in writing fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose, books or blog posts? Whatever you write, you can acquire new skills by attending a conference. Even though I was only able to attend the Write Canada on Saturday this year, I still learned much from authors like Davis Bunn and Marcy Kennedy.
MEET INDUSTRY PROS
Not only have I met a number of authors over the years, including Janette Oke and Ted Dekker, I've met editors, agents, and publishers. A writers' conference provides a slightly more relaxed setting in which to approach these individuals, though you always want to remember that they are professionals and should be treated as such. Just a word to the wise ... being an extrovert, I haven't always remembered that last part.
CONNECT WITH OTHER WRITERS
I've found over the years that writers are typically a generous bunch. Although those who write in our genre or area of interest are technically our competition, more experienced writers seem only too happy to share the knowledge and skills they've acquired over the years. We extroverts drink in the opportunity to spend time with other writers. For the introvert, those who seem to be in the majority at a writers' conference, it is a safe place to spend time with others who understand the challenges and joys of putting words on paper (or the computer screen) and sharing them with readers.
Writing is a very solitary endeavour. Although we may attend workshops, belong to a writers' group, and take courses, the process of writing is between us and our writing tool of choice. One of the advantages of attending a conference is soaking in the inspiration from the plenary sessions, the classes we attend, and the individuals we rub shoulders with. I go home from a conference fired up, ready to devote more time to writing. For those of us who can't do so full-time, we need a shot in the arm to include writing in our schedule.
SEEK NEW OPPORTUNITIES
And whether you're seeking them or not, new opportunities may come your way because you attend a writers' conference. I first met Ron Hughes at a Write Canada conference. Years later, he asked if I knew of anyone who might like to contribute to HopeStreamRadio (HSR). Podcasting is something I hadn't given much thought to, but now I upload devotionals to HSR regularly. This is only one opportunity that came my way. You just never know what can happen.
What other reasons would you include on this list?