I became a believer in Writer's Conferences about five years ago. Oh, I'd been to one before, but hadn't been terribly impressed. Then my mother talked me into giving this local one a try. It was held in my current hometown, here on the Oregon coast and was much smaller than the one I'd been to up in Portland. Would it be too much of a stretch to say it changed my life? I will say I've gone back every year since and for the past five years been one of the volunteer organizers.
So why should you, a writer spend your hard earned money on traveling to and attending a writer's conference? There are workshops presented by established writers that will help you hone your skills. They cover everything from coming up with ideas, to the mechanics of writing, to tips on marketing and promotion. Some will even give you a chance to pitch your book to an agent or publisher.
But that's not why I attend the conference anymore. About half the time I don't attend most of the workshops. I go because it energizes me to know I'm not alone.
Too much of our time, as writers is spent alone with our word processors or pens and paper. Our family and friends offer their support and encouragement, but they don't really understand. They don't really know how it feels when you send out a story you think is really good, the best work you've done, only to get a form letter rejection. They can't know, unless they, too, are writers.
That was what got me hooked on this conference. The workshops are valuable, but what really helped and encouraged me was spending two days with a hundred other people who were going through the same struggle I was. A hundred other people who understood why you were excited after writing a really good description of a car accident. The knowledge that I was not alone in my struggles re-energized me and do to this day.
So I encourage all writers out there, but especially those who feel alone against the world, to go to a writer's conference. It doesn't have to be large or expensive. But go.
Author of The Ni'il Series
"Ni'il: The Awakening"
"Ni'il: The War Within"