I've been on the verge of attending a conference for ages. It always seems like I become aware of a great conference about two days before it happens, and I use that as an excuse not to make the jump. That happened again just a few weeks ago, but I met another SheWriter who DID go to the conference, and I asked her to write about it on my blog.
I think it's a big leap for new(er) writers, but Jessica's experience was awesome. And it's inspired me to set a goal: I will go to a writers conference within the next year! Yes, I'm giving myself plenty of time :)
Do you guys have favorite conferences you have attended? Or are you still on the fence, too?
You can read about Jessica's pretty awesome experience at the Backspace conference here:
Thank you, Jessica!
Hey, I didn't know Yale had one! That's my alma mater, although oh so many years ago - too many for me to recognize the writing teachers. It seems more of a writing retreat than a writers conference - which is what I really long to do, but 10 days away from my family does seem, uh, I think the word I'm looking for is outrageously impossible. Okay, two words... But darn I still want to!
You're welcome! Let us know which you pick.
What a fantastic list! Thank you so much :)
Good question to pose. I have found that a writing conference helps me to meet other writers (who in turn can introduce you to their networks), expose me to industry insiders (i.e. agents, editors/publishers at small presses) and hone my craft (through workshops). I live in North Carolina which has the well established North Carolina Writer's Network that holds a yearly fall and spring conference. They attract a good mix of local, regional and nationally recognized writers. In a blog post I give some tips about how going to a writer's conferences helps one practice being a 'writer in public' and dos and don'ts.
I think finding a writer's conference that is affordable, has a good reputation for being welcoming to new writers, and is attracting published writers you'd like meet are good criteria for choosing to attend.
I'm from North Carolina! I've been considering trying to coordinate a visit to grandma's with attending a conference down there, as they do look really awesome :)
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My husband and I go to EPICon which is hosted by EPIC - The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition.
They have an annual eBook award competition (that's accepting submissions now!) and winners are announced at the conference.
BEA, ALA, SCWI
These are some of the organizations whose names have come up, when looking for a well-reputed conference. BEA just wrapped up in NYC, and it seems like every agent in town was at it!
I have just the solution for you! I am planning a very small writer's retreat (only 8 writers) for next April in Lenox, Massachusetts -- heart of the Berkshires. This will be geared for novelists only and will help those who are at the beginning stages get their novels off to the right start, those who are part-way through finish their novel, and those who have a messy first draft figure out how to revise it properly. It will be a three-day weekend at the historic Birchwood Inn (just minutes from Edith Wharton's the Mount). I've been coming up here every month to do some writing and getting ready for my author clients, and it occurred to me that because I am able to make amazing progress in this environment, others may be too. The retreat is not a self-directed thing, but rather highly structured to get you moving in the right direction. And, because it's so small, every writer will have one-on-one time with me.
One of the other reasons I've developed this retreat (what my assistant refers to as a "write-cation") is because I've attended many, many writers conferences over the years and, while I always picked up some useful ideas, they never really did anything to get me to the finish line with my work. This retreat is intended to do it.
I'm still in the early stages of planning it, but you can mark off April right now on your calendar, so you won't have to miss it.
I've been to the Romantic Novelists' Association conference here in the UK. I found it amazingly helpful. For one thing, I went when I was a new writer and I learnt that published novelists are enthusiastic and helpful and very supportive. Just talking to professional writers gave me a lot of tips that were invaluable, along with insights on how the publishing industry works. Things like the vital importance of writing for a clear market if you are an unknown. Something I'd never even thought about before.
This year, I'm going back as a speaker to share my experiences of working intensively with an editor before Eden's Garden was accepted. Which feels quite strange. I'd say it's definitely worth it for the sharing of experiences, especially if you get a chance to mingle with agents and publishers. So much of writing is done in isolation, it's good to talk to other writers, especially those in different stages of the process.
I agree with you about the isolation bit. It's a real challenge to find writers groups that meet regularly, in person. My book club is full of awesome ladies, and I really enjoy discussing the craft of books with them--good readers also have some excellent insights.
But on a professional level, yes, meeting people and networking in person can't be beat.
I attended the James Rivers Writers Conference here in Richmond, VA, back in October 2011. After years of wanting to go, I'm so happy that I did and I will attend the upcoming one this fall. I had the chance to meet authors (sigh!), other emerging writers, and even publishers which also gave me a chance to commune with other like-minded folks who understand our wide-eyed gazes when we're in the constant state of creation. Oh well... I'm normal, I realized. :)
It was a welcoming and inspiring event with workshops, activities, and very informational panel discussions on a wide range of topics in the industry. Our local writers organization has a lot of events in the area throughout the year, but this conference brings many here from various areas and a great deal of experience to share. It's exciting.
I highly recommend you attend one in your area soon. It's also given me the confidence to call myself a writer. I've always written stories and poems, but I never finally identified myself as a writer until after I left that event and realized I was a part of the group, too.
Let us know!