Choosing a Writers’ Conference: Options Like Clothing
By Marilyn Nutter
My daughter and I slid
the hangers on the rack, assessing the sale options. The spring dresses offered
an assortment of monochromatic and colorful prints. Hemlines, sleeve style, and
price tags varied.
One outfit after the other, she stood at the mirror, modeled, and asked my opinion. We agreed that some looked better on the hanger. Most looked lovely on her, a trim size two. There were zero options for me, not a size two.
Options. Conference season is coming up, and we have options to consider. Some writers are size two, and some are not. Some need a monochromatic simple conference, and some crave a colorful packed schedule with a class or appointment every hour.
How do we determine which conferences to attend?
- Look at the theme, focus, and topics taught. If fiction is the focus and your genre is non-fiction, keep moving the hangers on the rack and look for a different conference.
- What is your goal in attending?
- What is the daily schedule, and does it fit your interests? How much time is devoted to keynotes, worship, panels, workshops, or short courses?
- What’s the venue? Is there a lot of walking? Is it too far from home?
- Check the price tag. Calculate the costs of registration, housing, food, and transportation so you aren’t breaking your budget.
- Is there a sale? No, conferences don’t go on sale, but check into scholarships and the deadline for applying. Can you find a roommate to cut costs?
- Who’s on faculty and taking appointments? Are you familiar with the faculty? Are there opportunities for you to pitch or do none fit with your work? Is a faculty member one you admire and want to learn from?
- Dismiss FOMO—fear of missing out. It’s easy to be swept up in the enthusiasm of friends on social media posting they registered and are preparing for a conference. If the conference isn’t a good fit for you, wish them well and find one that is your style.
- Don’t fall into the comparison trap. If a smaller or online conference is right for you, that’s where you’ll benefit most.
Zusha, a great Chassidic master cried on his deathbed. His students asked him, "Rebbe, why are you so sad? You have done many good deeds. Surely you will get a great reward in heaven.”
"I'm afraid!" said Zusha. "Because when I get to heaven, I know God's not going to ask me 'Why weren't you more like Moses?' or 'Why weren't you more like King David?' But I'm afraid that God will ask, 'Zusha, why weren't you more like Zusha?' And then what will I say?"*
Each of us is uniquely designed to write according to God’s calling, using His gifts to follow our unique path. That path includes learning our craft in individual ways too, including the conferences we attend. Some look better on the hanger and some are our perfect fit.
What do you consider when choosing a writers’ conference?
*Martin Buber, Tales of the Hassidim: The Early Masters, Shocken Books ,1968, p. 141.
Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash
Marilyn Nutter is co-author with April White of Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart, and a frequent contributor to online sites and compilations. Visit her website at http:/MarilynNutter.com.
I am attending a large conference for the third time and have been comtemplating a change.This post is applicable and inspiring. I love to shop so the hook was appealing as well. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I'm glad these ideas were Helpful. MarilynDelete
I truly enjoy attending conferences for writers. The Carolina Christian Writers Conference is one of my favorite.ReplyDelete
Yes! I met you there one time. It's one of the smaller ones and can definitely meet writers' needs. MarilynDelete
Great information. I’m planning to go to Blue Ridge again this yearReplyDelete
Thank you. Di Ann Mills just posted how to prep for a conference -great ideas there if you search for her post, MarilynDelete
There's so much wisdom in your message, Marilyn. Zusha's words especially spoke to me today. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Katherine, Glad this post spoke to you. Zusha's words are a principle to think of for life.MarilynDelete
Marilyn, you shared wise strategies for determining which writers conferences to attend with your perfect metaphor. I've learned that large and small conferences each have merit, but choosing the appropriate one for my writing journey is important. Thanks so much.Delete
Thanks Jeannie. I’ve experienced both too!Delete
Thanks so much Marilyn. It fit exactly the quandary I've been struggling with.ReplyDelete
Glad this helped. There are many options for us - choosing the right conference differs in where we are and what we individually need in our writing hour.Delete