Monday, May 19, 2014

10 Things I Love About Writers Conferences

by Alycia Morales

Winning awards is always nice. Having your work critiqued by a professional in the industry is a great benefit. Finding an editor or an agent who says "Yes" is the best feeling in the world for a writer. But there is so much more to be said about writers conferences.


Here are 10 Other Things I Love About Writers Conferences:

1. The opportunity to worship with like-minded people. Come on, we all know that writers are an odd lot. Put Jesus in the midst of them, and you can hear the angels sing.

2. Daily Devotions. As a writer, it's easy to get a big head. It's humbling to be reminded each morning at conference that we do this for the glory of God, not the glory of self.

3. Fellowship. Writers spend days and nights staring at our computer screens in glowing isolation. It's always a relief and rather refreshing to spend time with others who get you.

4. Meeting your roommate. This can be a bit nerve-wracking. You may know the person's name, if you're lucky, and now you're sharing a room with them. Not easy for an introvert. But worth it. My roommates and I have spent hours into the night talking about life, family, and books.

5. Dinnertime. Maybe this doesn't happen at all conferences, but the ones I've gone to allow you to eat with faculty. Some of the conversations have been terrifying and would make great story fodder, while others have been food-spitting funny.

6. Wisdom. There is a ton of knowledge present at these conferences. The faculty come prepared to teach it, and I come prepared to receive it. What's even better is when you can dig a little deeper and find those nuggets of wisdom.

7. Aha! Moments. With all of those writerly brains around, there should be plenty of Aha! moments at conference. Aha! I've found my "brand." Aha! I know what my novel needs to take it to the next level. Aha! That's what social network I should focus on. Aha! I never thought of that before. Aha! That's God's hand in my career - right there.

8. The Registration Desk. (Maybe I should have listed this one first.) "What?" you say. But have you ever stopped and looked around? Felt the electricity in the air? Seen the smiling faces as we begin to gather? It's the first place we come together. It's the first moment in our week/weekend together. It's the first in a series of next steps on our journey. It's the place long-distance friends spot each other across the room for the first time in a year. Love the registration desk.

9. The Journey. Whether I'm driving or flying to get to conference, I love the journey. I love spending a few final moments in prayer. I love the opportunity to brainstorm, the expectancy of what God has in store, and anticipating the hugs and smiles of friends.

10. The Vacation. For me, conferences are a vacation. They are a break from everyday life. They are fun and exciting like a theme park roller coaster. You never know which way your career path is going to turn next. And that, to me, is thrilling.

What do you love about conferences? What would you add to the list?

Congratulations Vie Herlocker! You are the winner of Ann Tatlock's novel.

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