The idea of a writers’ conference can be intimidating. Especially for the more introverted writers out there. Many writers type themselves as creative souls drawn to the weird and magical side of life. And so they automatically assume they’ll be out of place at an event where the focus is on business and networking.
It’s time to check those assumptions. Here are three solid reasons you should attend a writers’ conference:
It Will Help You Level Up
Most conferences open their doors to writers of any skill level. No, you don’t have to be signed with an agent to attend a conference, and no, you don’t even have to have a completed manuscript. What you do need is a healthy sense of curiosity about how the whole process works and a willingness to be open to the experience.
Whatever level you’re currently at in your writing, a writers’ conference will expose you to the next level up, and the next level after that. It will also keep you current on what’s going on in today’s world of books and publishing. You’ll gain a better idea of what to expect from the next step in your career, whether you’re just starting out or already an old pro.
It Will Strengthen Your Identity as a Writer
I’m not talking about just “getting your name out there” but instead how you think of yourself as a writer. Many writers suffer from imposter syndrome. Those who are unpublished feel that they won’t be a “real” writer until they are, and even some with books on the shelves (or the Kindle) feel like they haven’t “made it” until they’re really famous.
Immersing yourself in a space filled with other people just like you—people who love writing, are passionate about practicing it, and have writing dreams to fulfill—will send the signal loud and clear to your brain that YOU are a writer. It will also create ripples of positive writing influence in your life. A writer is never so jazzed up about writing and ready to crank out pages as after they’ve just come back from a conference.
It Will Bring Other (Awesome) Writers into Your Life
Even if you are the shyest introvert on the planet, if you spend three days in the same space with the same crowd of people, you are bound to start to settle in and even (eek!) talk to someone. Just because you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of working the room, stack of business cards in hand, doesn’t mean you can’t make connections.
The incredibly cool thing about a writers’ conference is that everyone who is there shares the same interest. There is nothing writers love to talk about so much as books. Go to the panels that interest you and stay after to tell the panel members how the topic piqued your curiosity. Ask friendly-looking people around you for reading recommendations. Make your connection your way and you’ll attract the people who truly align with you.
If you’re a Sci-Fi or Fantasy writer you can gain many of the same benefits from attending conventions. Tons of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Comic conventions also include panels and workshops on writing, and the chance to meet and talk with celebrity writers on site. It’s a great way to grow as a writer yourself, while also having the fun of a pure fan.
Jodie Renner of Resources for Writers maintains a fantastic list of 2014 Writers’ Conferences. Check out Jodie’s list and see if one of them fits your needs:
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