All professionals attend conventions, conferences, in-service, or workshops to increase their knowledge in their field, to reinforce what they know, and to learn how to manage their business efficiently. This need to participate in conferences applies to writers as well as doctors, CEOs, and teachers.
I am attending a conference this coming weekend (the OWFI conference, named one of the top conferences in the Southwest) the first of May, and I want to share why I attend conferences.
Why Attend a Writing Conference?
Writing conferences increase the possibility of attendees improving their skills, gaining confidence, and building a better presence in their field.
Most writing conferences have sessions over writing skills. At the LexiCon Writers Conference (several years ago), I presented a session titled “How to Write That Children’s Book.” According to feedback after the hour’s class, attendees discovered how to begin and to write their stories, some things they hadn’t realized were needed. A few said they didn’t realize action was required in a children’s story. At the Oklahoma Writers' Federation Inc. (OWFI) conference, I attended a session concerning romantic suspense given by best-selling author Merline Lovelace . I learned how to balance the two components and follow the writing arc.
One session covered creating and keeping an effective blog. One of the tips concerned limiting categories used. Another, encouraged bloggers to post regularly. A tip that caught my attention, a blogger should be aimed toward the desired audience, rather than to others in the same profession. Therefore, the need for a new blog.
A problem area for most writers includes the need to treat their profession as a business, when in today’s publishing world, it must be. Part of the business needs included promotion of the writers’ product: books. Sessions by social media and public relations experts gave suggestions and solutions that allowed attendees to better understand how and why to address their business.
Other benefits of attending conferences include networking and opportunities for writers to "pitch" their manuscripts to agents, editors, and/or publishers. Being able to interact with other writers helps authors understand the challenges they face aren't only theirs, that others have those obstacles, also. Networking allows writers to learn from others and to help others. Friendships develop that last a lifetime. However, networking and pitching need articles of their own.
Once a writer gains more knowledge, or reinforcement of what they already know, and learn how to better manage their business, their confidence increases. As a result, writers are better prepared to face their writing world.