Should You Go to a Writers’ Conference?
People frequently ask me whether they should invest the time and money to go to a writers’ conference. In my opinion, it can be a valuable experience whether you’re agented or not, published or not. But especially if you’re neither.
I could write pages and pages about the value of a conference, but in the end it comes down to a personal decision about how to spend your time and money. Here are some things to think about:
1. If it’s a financial hardship, then it’s usually not the right thing to do. There will always be more conferences, perhaps at a better time financially.
2. Making a commitment to attend conferences regularly (once a year if you can) signals to yourself and your family that you’re taking this whole writing thing seriously; that you’re treating it as a business and a profession, not just a hobby.
3. The workshops available at conferences are valuable for continuing to improve your writing. Even authors who are multi-published attend workshops because they want to keep growing as writers.
4. The intangible value of networking and making friends with other writers can be life-changing for someone who’s used to toiling all alone on the computer (even with online friends). Interacting with like-minded people is validating, encouraging, and downright fun.
5. The opportunity to meet with agents and editors is, of course, a major draw for most writers. Conferences are pretty much the only place you can do this.
6. I think it’s important to feel that you’re part of something larger than yourself. Going to a conference helps you to feel like you’re part of the writing and publishing community at large.
Q4U: Those of you who’ve been to conferences: Why do you go? What would you say to someone trying to decide if they should jump in?