By Andrea Merrell
People have asked me on numerous occasions, “Why should I spend the time and money to go to a writers’ conference? What are the benefits? Is it really worth it?”
While the benefits are many—learning, growing, honing your craft, networking—one of the greatest blessings we can receive is a divine connection.
Over the years, there have been many of those in my life. Here are a few.
My very first devotion was published because of a business card I found in my bag when I got home. I never met the person at the conference, but she later became a dear friend and writing buddy.
Because of that devotion, I acquired another friend who later hired me as an editor—something I never knew God had in store for me.
Through other divine connections, I have received freelance editing jobs and invitations to speak at events, teach at writing conferences, and write guest blog posts and articles. I’ve also had the privilege of contributing to many anthologies.
God knit my heart together with a young woman who is seriously ill and needed some help with her writing. Even though we’ve never met face-to-face, she has become very important to me. She’s almost like one of my kids.
Many times, God has connected me with folks who became prayer warriors for me and my family. People I can trust and depend on to encourage, support, and pray.
There have been so many times when there was an immediate connection with someone from the first introduction or conversation. When God puts a person in your life for a reason, it’s a blessing that’s hard to describe.
All that to say one of the greatest benefits for me has been the different relationships born out of my time at numerous conferences. Friends from all over the country. Mentors. Encouragers. Prayer partners. The list could go on and on.
As a writer, conferences will be an important part of your life. They will equip you with the tools you need to succeed and give you a support group to cheer you on in your journey. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (NKJV). Your writer friends—those divine connections—will rejoice with you over your successes and weep with you when things don’t go as you’d planned. They make the writing life even that much sweeter.
Are conferences worth the investment. Absolutely.
(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Stuart Miles, and sheelamohan.)