4 reasons why attending writing conferences will help you become a better writer.
Last October, I attended the Writer’s Digest Writing Conference in Los Angeles, CA. It was my very first writing conference, and I was quite nervous. I had just completed the first draft of my novel and saw an opportunity to get better before starting the editing process. I felt that I needed to attend a Writing Conference because I never want to stop improving my writing skills when given a chance. Like many writers, I’m not exactly comfortable with social gatherings with perfect strangers. So, attending this conference was both exciting and terrifying. Or so I thought it would be.
The conference was far better than what I had envisioned. The staff did a fantastic job at organizing it (I don’t know the staff, I’m simply stating a fact). Whatever you’re into, you would find it there. The conference offered on average four types of “classes” every hour, so there were always one or two things you would be interested in. Each day ended with a Keynote speaker, a book signing, and a social gathering around food. Well, let’s put it this way – have a bunch of passionate people have a great time learning invaluable information, and then serve food and a cup of coffee (or wine), and it’s the perfect combination to make friends. Everything was set in motion to guarantee a good time. You never had to worry about anything. You attend the classes that appeal most to you, meet like-minded people, and you get to hear and talk to people in the business you would never speak with in your everyday life.
Here are 4 reasons why you should always attend a conference when you have a chance.
– Meet people from the industry
Having access to agents and editors is a wonderful way to get insights from the industry, an idea of what it’s like to be on the other side and what they like/don’t like. Writing conferences will most likely offer an opportunity to meet with an agent whether it’s through a 1:1, pitch slams, or something else in those lines. You have a chance to meet them and get to personalize your query when you submit your materials. I don’t believe conferences should be the place where you bring your query with you unless you have a one on one and need some advice or you’re asked one, but it’s rather an opportunity to get great advice and make sure they remember you.
You may have the ability to meet professional editors with strong experience in the industry and maybe even in the genre you represent. If you’re in need of one, it’s also one of the best ways to approach them. If an editor offers a class, just go because this is fantastic to understand how you should revise your book before sending it to them and ensure you get the best out of it.
Keynote Speakers are amazing. You get to hear stories of their successes and failures, get some strong pieces of advice, and have a signed book. They’ve been through what you’re going through. It’s truly inspiring to hear their stories.
– Learn more about the industry
Being a writer isn’t just about writing a book. There are so many facets you need to master to get published. These conferences will give you a better understanding of what the editors, agents, and publishers want. If you understand how they function, it’ll be easier to connect with them. You should educate yourself as much as you can on the industry.
What will be required from you? What can you expect from each of them? This will prevent many setbacks, and it will ensure you are on the right track. Being a writer is also about managing your own business. Your book is your product, but this is only one component of the picture. Whether this is about your book or your business, you have a lot to take into consideration before publishing it.
– Learn how to hone your craft
All the different sessions have a purpose. Know what you’re desperate to know and if something does sound foreign to you, go to that class/session. You need to understand each piece of the puzzle to make sure you always make the best decision for you and your book. Always be humble because chances are, you don’t know as much as you think you do. Let the experts show you the way and be open to the possibility that you’re doing something wrong. Prepare for this conference as much as you can in advance.
– Build meaningful relationships
Being a writer is a rather lonely profession. At a conference, you meet like-minded people who share the same passion for words as you. They know and understand your struggles, your joys, and your doubts. You can make friends and you may even get critique partners out of it. Misery loves company – When you find out other people struggle with the same thing as you, it does make you feel a little better because if it’s not just you. Better, when they offer solutions to your issue, you feel lighter and ready to conquer the world again. We all have our doubts.
When listening to other peers, you learn a lot too, get insights, and maybe even ideas. The writing community is full of people who are willing to help you. Be humble, listen to your peers, and accept the fact that you don’t know everything.
Writing conferences can be expensive, but you may ask this as a present for your birthday or Christmas. Think about all the industry knowledge you will gain, the invaluable tips you’ll learn, and the great people you will meet. Take advantage of the early birds’ price – It’s a great way to cut down on expenses. As for as I’m concerned, I’ve already registered for the next Writers Digest Writing Conference in Pasadena, CA. It’s a cost, but well worth it!
Take full advantages of these conferences because, as a writer, you can only grow from it.