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Why Should You Attend a Writer's Conference?

Updated on June 28, 2011

Writing Conferences Aren't Just for the Published

Most writers dream of going to a writer's conference and sitting at the feet of the experts that they want to emulate. But they think they have to get that first novel published first or the first article accepted to a magazine. Then they'll be real writers that can go to real conferences. While it is true that there are conferences geared towards advanced writers, there are many more that are structured around beginning and intermediate writers. You don't have to be published to call yourself a writer. If you've sat down at a computer or with pen and paper and created something, you are a writer.

That said, there are many reasons why unpublished writers and newly published writers should go to a conference. You only have to find one reason to make it worth your time and money.

1. There is much to learn.

If you look at a brochure of many writer's conferences, you can get excited just reading the list of classes and lectures. Well-known speakers who have been published many times and are rated "successful" by their peers will give you advice on how to get where they are. Sometimes they even have breakout sessions where you can put what you're learning into practice. There are very few places besides a conference where you can listen and learn from famous authors and publishers.

You can also learn from others who are attending the writer's conference. There will be many writers who are more established than you are and can give you inside tips and advice that may keep you from making all of their mistakes. The wonderful thing about writers are that they aren't stingy with their knowledge. If they've figured something out that makes it easier to write or get published, they are willing to share it with others. A writer's conference can be a gold mine of information for beginners.

2. Network.

You never know when you'll meet someone who can help you with your writing career at a conference. There are often informal get-togethers in the evenings where you can visit with agents and publishers as well as authors. While you don't want to hound these people every minute, it never hurts to talk to them. If they ask about what you've written, feel free to tell them. I attended a conference once where a literary agent was a speaker and she gave us all her email and told us to contact her if we had something her company could use. She promised to read any work that was sent to her. She visited with a group I was in and gave us valuable tips in addition to her formal lecture during the writer's conference. I realized then the importance of making contacts even if you don't have something ready for publication.

3. Writers are great support for each other.

You will find other writers who are about the same place along the writing path as you are who will be tremendous support and encouragment to you. You can form a critique group with others who write similiar to you or even just one reviewer who will be happy to edit your work and you can do the same for them. It's amazing how many friends you can meet at one writer's conference. Even though you may only contact each other through email, it's great to have others who understand your struggles and triumphs.

4. You can mentor others.

There are also people at writer's conferences who know less about writing than you do or are newer at being a writer. They may be feeling lost and need a mentor. You can learn a lot by teaching others. Even if you've never been published, you have something to offer. Never discount what you know as not being valuable to someone else.

Why Not?

So instead of asking yourself why you should go to a writer's conference, ask yourself why not. It will definitely not be time wasted and the tools you will gain will help you for years to come. The friends you make will keep you going when you want to give up. So the only question for you is which one will you choose?

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    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 5 years ago from trailer in the country

      I like the question, "why not?" Rated up.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Iremeber attending a yound Author's Conference at my highschool when I was in grade 12.I got to have a professional write rcritique one of my short stories. It was anexcellent experience.

    • CJ Andrews profile image

      Chris Andrews 6 years ago from Norwalk, Ohio

      As geeky as this may sound, one of the reasons I use to attend GenCon was because of the writers that gave sessions. I have met many new authors as well as many such as Mike Stackpole and R.A. Salvatore.

      It is nice to be able to talk to them and see what they have gone through and their perspective on business and how to keep it going. Interesting hub, glad I stumbled on it.