Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2018
by Jill Printzenhoff
A few Saturdays ago I attended a one-day writers conference—The Super Saturday Seminar—held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In all honesty, due to personal scheduling conflicts I had not planned to attend . . . until those plans changed. I’m glad they did change and that I was able to step away from normal life, well, for at least a day.
This was the fifth time I attended that particular conference. I have never walked away disappointed.
While not my typical post topic, I felt compelled to discuss the subject of writers conferences. Maybe someone reading this post has been on the fence about attending their first conference. Or, maybe someone reading this post has attended a past conference and is unsure about the value of attending additional conferences.
If you are a writer, or aspire to write, I would like to present 5 reasons to attend a writers conference.
Writing is hard work. We pour hours of energy into our craft, and every so often we need refueled. Conferences provide fuel in the form of encouragement received through seminar sessions. At the conference I attended, each speaker spoke words of encouragement to the audience on multiple occasions during their presentations.
Writing is often lonely work. We tend to hide in our writing caves and emerge every so often to refill coffee mugs or tea glasses. Then, we return to our caves. Conferences bring writers together, and give us the chance to interact with others working towards similar goals. Many friendships and writing bonds form during conferences.
Most conferences host critique sessions. Some sessions are group sessions, but many sessions are one-on-one times with editors, agents, and authors. As long as a slot is available, the conferee can sign up for a time to meet with the person of their choice. During the allotted time (usually 15 to 20 minutes) the conferee can ask questions, seek advice about story ideas, or have the person read a portion of a manuscript. This one-on-one time is priceless. Each time I’ve met with someone at a critique session I’ve walked away with tips, suggestions, and tools to improve my writing.
Authors with hundreds of books in print still promote and seek growth as a means to prevent stagnation in their writing. Conferences allow for writing growth. Typically, conferences offer both non-fiction and fiction tracts, with a variety of seminar choices. Though mostly a non-fiction writer, I’ve attended seminars in both tracts, and have always learned something new about the writing craft.
During conferences, opportunities surface in a variety of ways. At the end of their sessions, many presenters leave time for Q & A. Some extend contact information in an effort to answer follow up questions or provide additional guidance. Other speakers present submission opportunities (article needs, guest blog posts, etc.) for conference attenders. My first publication was the result of the first conference I attended. A presenter offered a submission opportunity. Although I was unsure of my writing self, I decided to submit a manuscript and see what would happen. Months later I was notified that my short 230-word contribution would be printed.
If you have attended a writers conference, what would you add to this list of reasons to attend?
If you have never attended a writers conference, but have wanted to, what is preventing you from attending?
I’d love to read your comments – Jill P.
- Featured photo is compliments of pixabay.com