Monday, March 27, 2017

7 Reasons To Attend a Writer's Conference

by Alycia W. Morales     @AlyciaMorales

In 2010, I was new to the writing world. Sure, I'd written before. I started writing when I could hold a pencil and put my ABCs on paper. I went to college for Mass Communications & Journalism. I knew I wanted to write from a young age, but my writing career didn't come into play until I was raising my children and needed something I could do that was productive and fun for me. How did I get started? A writer's conference.

If you're new to writing, I highly recommend you attend a writer's conference this year. And if you've been in a writing career for any amount of time, you know the value of one.

Click to Tweet:  7 Reasons to Attend a #Writers Conference This Year

Here are 7 reasons to attend a conference this year:

1. Networking: There's no better place to meet and associate yourself with other writers than a writer's conference. It's a great place to meet agents, editors, and established writers. But it's also a great place to meet up-and-coming writers who will be able to encourage you just as well as the established writers. Don't discount anyone. You never know who God is going to raise up and place in a position to help you get your books published or ask you to join their team.

2. Learning the Craft: Many new writers need to take time to learn the mechanics of the craft of writing. If you write a wonderful story but don't understand Point of View, it's going to affect whether or not an editor keeps reading. And Point of View really isn't that difficult to understand, if you take the time to learn it and apply it. Writer's conferences are the perfect place to learn about plot, character development, point of view, world building, and so many more of the important elements of a successful story. Go forth and learn, young write-a-wan.

3. Opportunities: Most agents won't take on a writer unless they've met them in person. And most editors won't take a manuscript without submission via an agent. Does a writer have a chance? They do if they attend a conference where agents and editors are present. Make sure you sign up for appointments when you register for the conference you are attending.

4. Fellowship: Writers are an odd bunch, and we tend to isolate into our writing holes while we pound away at the keyboard. It can be a lonely world, this writing career. Writer's conferences are the perfect place for us to come together with like-minded weirdos and talk all things writing and otherwise. Other writers get us. They understand what it takes to do what we do. They get the fear of being watched by big government because they noticed your Google searches always contain terms such as "body dump" or "ways to commit murder with poison." They understand the joy of being able to set your own schedule or take a family vacation whenever it's convenient. They get you.

5. Rest: As busy as you'll be over the course of the conference, it's usually a restful time. Maybe it's because you're away from the daily grind. Maybe it's because you're surrounded by those who get you. Maybe it's because you're just away from the four walls you usually face when working. Whatever the reason, spending that time away from home and around others in your field is actually relaxing. You should be physically tired when you head home from the conference, but your creative juices should be restored and you should find yourself ready to go full speed ahead again.

6. Idea Central: Stuck? Not sure what to do next? What word fits that sentence? What best describes your story? Should you take on that next editing client? You're surrounded by others in the same business. This is brainstorming central. Don't be afraid to ask that burning question. This is the place to get the answers.

7. Encouragement: Yes, there may be a rejection here and there, but that's part of the business. What's great is that you are surrounded by others who get how much it can sting and know just the right words to pick you up and set you back on your way. Writer's conferences are a great place to find encouragement in your writing career. Who doesn't need encouragement?

There are many, many other benefits to attending writer's conferences. If you have one you'd like to share, we'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Do you want to attend a writer's conference but don't know where to start? Here are a few conferences we recommend (some have already taken place this year, but they are annual, so you can catch them next year if you'd like ... others are coming up):

Asheville Christian Writers Conference
This is perfect for new writers, as it's a smaller conference. Watch closely for the 2018 registration to open. It fills up quickly, and they always have a waiting list. Held in Asheville, NC.

Carolina Christian Writers Conference
This is another great conference for first-time attendees, as it's a smaller conference. Great faculty. Plenty of opportunity to learn. Held in Spartanburg, SC.

Florida Christian Writers Conference
It’s an opportune week to meet agents and editors, award winning writers and others who have heard the same call to write.  Come attend workshops and continuing classes that will sharpen your pen, develop your platform, and strengthen your resolve. Critique groups, meetings with agents and editors, writing contests, and camaraderie with fellow writers make this week one to remember. Held in Leesburg, FL.

Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
This one is my personal favorite. Maybe it's because I'm on staff, but really it's because this is the first conference I ever attended, and it's one I call home. Personable faculty, a wide variety of classes for all levels of writers, and a beautiful mountain setting. You can't go wrong with the Blue Ridge Conference. Held in Black Mountain, NC. May 21-24, 2017

Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference
There are West Coast conferences! And Mount Hermon is one of the well-known conferences. Held in Felton, CA. April 7-11, 2017

ACFW: American Christian Fiction Writers
Are you a Christian fiction writer? ACFW is a great conference focused on writing Christian fiction. Held in Grapevine, TX. September 21-24, 2017

Write to Publish
Another popular Christian writer's conference. Held in Wheaton, IL. June 14-17, 2017

Realm Makers Conference
Do you write stories set in other worlds? Realm Makers may be the conference for you! Don't forget your cosplay! Held at Atlantis Casino Resort, Reno, NV. July 27-29, 2017

4 comments:

  1. Excellent reasons, Alycia. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. You've been to a lot of conferences, Bruce. Can you add another reason to attend?

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  2. I agree. Thanks for sharing, Alycia.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Joann! What reason would you add?

      Delete

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