Sunday, April 10, 2011

Writers' Conferences and Such...

For those of you that have been, you know how excellent they are. For those of you that haven't, you should at least try and go to one. Yesterday, I attended the Reno Writers' Conference. It is a "smaller" conference, but the upside of that is the environment is more intimate (not to mention, they're more affordable) and there are more opportunities to talk with the speakers (ie agents/editors/etc).

At this conference, we had some awesome speakers like Chuck Sambuchino from Guide to Literary Agents, and agents Gordon WarnockLindsey Clemons, and Verna Dreisbach that made themselves available for a session of questions from the audience (thank you!). (Which, by the way, if you're reading this, chances are you also read agent/editor blogs. And, if you go to conferences, you'll be surprised at some of the questions agents are asked. A quick internet search would solve a lot of them...)

I know, I know, we can find everything on the internet these days. But nothing compares to meeting people face to face. And, what I find to be the most valuable aspect of attending conferences is the encouragement I gain. Meeting other writers is difficult. Let's face it, most of us are hermits. We don't make ourselves readily accessible to meet others in general, let alone find other "hermits" to conspire with (unless you're lucky enough to meet great people through blogs and forums!). But at conferences, you meet all sorts of writers that are at different stages in the game. You're unified in your struggles, unified in your passions. You're motivated by those around you, all striving towards a similar goal. You glean inspiration from their hope. The speakers share their journey, and you are reminded that there truly isn't one way towards publication, if that is your goal. And, they remind you to enjoy the journey. You have to. The publishing industry moves at "glacial speed", so if you aren't enjoying the ride there, you'll freeze to death. Well, not literally, but you get the point.

Here are four "take-aways" from the conference that stuck with me that I wanted to share with you:

1) No matter what happens, always remember why you are writing.
2) Are you feeling frustrated about writing lately? That's okay. Remember this: "People that don't have any ambition aren't frustrated". (Thanks David Stipech!)
3) Do not put all your eggs in one basket. The first question a prospective agent will ask you is: "What else are you writing?"
4) You want to know how to get published? Write. Your success as a writer is directly proportional to the amount of time you spend writing.

For those of you that have attended a writers' conference, what are some of the things you learned and how were you encouraged?


  1. I think the number one thing I learned at my first conference was that I wasn't alone! Of course, I didn't think I'd be the only one in attendance, but it AMAZED me to see just how many other writers there were struggling with the same things I was struggling with, shared my same joys and fears. Conferences are great! I'm glad to hear you had a good experience!

  2. I saw your comment on Nathan's blog, so I decided to pop over here and follow yours.

    Nice ta meet ya, Barbara!

  3. @Christine- we MUST stick together! And YOU help & encourage me so much!

    @Matthew- Nice to meet you, too! Just popped over to yours--new follower :D

  4. I'm planning on making it to WFC in San Diego this fall, but it's more of a party than a conference. It will be my first either way though!

  5. Hey, when is that? Maybe I should go...I've heard it's fabulous! Are you close to SD?

  6. Great post! Thanks for sharing some great tips!

  7. Sure!...btw made some Apfelkuchen yesterday. Um. AMAZING. Going to blog this week :D

  8. So jealous! I wish we had amazing conferences with agents and editors here. At least now that I'm in Melbourne there are some conferences but I think they're mostly about meeting other writers (which is still awesome) rather than making contacts with agents/editors.

  9. I think I'm still working up the courage to go to one of these, but they do sound amazing, not to mention fun. Thanks for sharing your experience and tips!

  10. @Sari: and meeting other writers is just as important! :D

    @Krispy: Don't fear! It's a VERY friendly and encouraging environment! Plus, you'll meet other "frightened" individuals you can pal around with. People are mOre than happy to meet each other. The first one is the scariest...they're not so bad afterwards :)

  11. What a great list of take-aways. Those are always worth remembering!


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