Top Ten Reasons to Attend a Writer’s Conference by Jocelyn Green
Whenever writers/ aspiring authors ask me what they can be doing right now to achieve their goals, one ofthe things I tell them is to attend every writers conference they can afford (assuming the conference is high quality). Actually, attending writers conferences is also wonderful for published authors.
I know times are tight, and writers are not wealthy people as a general rule. But a high-caliber writers conference will pay for itself in the long run with time saved, network broadened, skills gained, inspiration gleaned, etc.
Using my experience at Breathe as an example, here are my top ten reasons to take the plunge (yes, even if you are an introvert and would rather just sit at home and read Writer’s Digest):
- One-on-one meetings with authors, speakers, editors, agents
Where else can you find the opportunity to sit down for 15 minutes and ask a published author anything you want to know, or pitch your book to an agent face to face, or ask an editor what to expect from the publishing process? At Breathe, and at many other writers conferences, attendees can sign up for one-on-one appointments and do exactly that. Amazing. Do not miss it.
- The workshops
Ah, the workshops! Breathe has tracks for fiction, nonfiction, publishing, blogging, marketing & publicity and more. Very often, one terrific workshop will be worth the entire cost of the conference.
- The devotional insights
Usually at a Christian writers conference, there will be at least one optional devotional morning session, which I love. At Breathe 2014, the bottom line I took away was the reminder that “Who I am is who I am in Jesus.” I am not defined by how many books I publish or how many rejections I get. Neither am I defined by reviews or book sales (or lack thereof) or anything else, but who I am in Christ. Friends, this is absolutely liberating.
- The keynote speaker: A few years ago at Breathe we were blessed to hear from Julie Cantrell, NY Times bestseller, Christy Award and Carol Award winner for her books Into the Free and When Mountains Move. Her plenary session talks were so inspiring. She shared with us that when she wrote her first novel she did it basically in secret, just to see if she could write and finish a novel in three months. So she got up and wrote from 3-5am every day for three months. And she did it. In my book, anyone who is willing to lose that much sleep deserves all the accolades she receives. I think the moral of the story is this: don’t let the lack of time stop you from writing. Make time. Find time. Steal time if you must, even if you have to steal it from the night.
- Meeting and reuniting with other writer friends
Writers are a special breed of people, don’t you think? But guess what? At a writers conference, everyone will “get” you. Some of the best friends I have, I met at Breathe years ago. Seeing them again at the conference is such a treat. Writer friend support is mission critical!
- Networking opportunities
The people you sit next to at a meal or a workshop or a plenary session might play a role in your writing career later. At Breathe, I have connected with writers who I later invited to contribute to a book I was writing, I’ve met people who later agreed to endorse one of my books, or be an influencer. Even swapping blog posts with another writer who blogs is a great form of networking. And networking is a beautiful thing.
- Time to THINK
Sometimes, the best thing about a conference is that I sat still with paper and pen, and had some focused time to think about what I wanted to write. Some of my best ideas were born at writers conferences, simply because I had the time to dream a little.
- You will not cook a meal.
They feed you. Or you can buy food. You will love it.
- You will not do the laundry.
Or the dishes. You will take a break from the tyranny of the urgent to invest in your calling. Ahhhh…..writers conferences!
- You will have space to LISTEN.
Take some time in a quiet place to pray and ask God what He wants for your writing. Every writers conference I’ve been to has a designated room for quiet reflection and prayer. Even if you don’t use this specific space, you can pray anywhere. The important thing is that you’ll have time and space to intentionally listen.
- If you have the opportunity to attend a good writers conference, take it! You will be so glad you did.
Register for Breathe today! We’d love to have you join us. Register HERE.
Award-winning author Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage in her readers through both fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife herself, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry. Her novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration.
She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two small children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.