Yep, I’m hooked.
And now I wish I would’ve gone to them a long time ago.
It took me several years to finally get the courage and confidence to get myself to a writing conference. Oh, I heard about all the benefits. Over and over again, I was told how it would be a great place to make contacts and spend time with like-minded people. I also was reminded though, how pricey some conferences can be, and that fact alone sometimes kept me from pushing that button and buying my ticket.
Until this year.
I finally made my way to the Missouri Writers Guild annual conference. I didn’t really know what I would experience on this weekend long event, and frankly, I was a little apprehensive at first. But let me tell ya, I was immediately converted, and never looked back. So much so, that I signed up and attended 2 more conferences through this year.
It’s not just about the classes folks, although those are pretty darned informative. It was nice to hear firsthand from editors and agents about what they actually want, are interested in, and looking for in a manuscript. It was helpful to be able to ask a question specific to my work-in-process and hear thoughts from professionals and peers about a possible solution. And it’s nice to interact and exchange contact and social media information with those same professionals and peers. Friendships are forged with like-minded people and all of a sudden you have the makings of a great support group, consisting of authors, writers, editors, agents, and publishers. What’s not to like about that?
And those stories about the after hours conversations and meet ups in the hotel bar, lobby, or common areas just happen to be true. When the formal classes end, don’t hibernate in your room. Instead, get out and mingle with the folks you follow and read on social media. Sharing writing related conversation over a drink or appetizer is priceless.
Ask questions. All of them. All those questions you’ve had in the back of your mind for months, or years. The writing community is extremely supportive, and everyone I’ve encountered is interested in helping as much as being helped.
There’s nothing quite like informally talking to an editor, agent, or publisher face to face with no agenda. The information, guidance, direction, and renewed motivation you’ll gain can make all the difference between just wanting to be a writer and getting your posterior in the chair and being a writer.
And the friendships made are pretty cool too!