This week is an incredibly busy and exciting time for me and several other writers. I will be attending the annual LDStorymakers conference at the Provo Marriott on May 3-5, Thursday-Saturday. This will be the 7th year I have attended this conference and I credit this specific writing conference for putting me on the path of publication.
I wanted to highlight the importance of attending writing conferences because if you are serious about the craft of writing and motivated to get published–you should be going. There are a hundred reasons to attend writing conferences, but I’ll run down a short list for you.
- Conferences help you to realize just how much you don’t know about writing–in a good way. I say this because when I attended my first conference back in 2006, I had read lots of books on writing, studied, and bought a few copies of the Children’s Illustrator’s and Writer’s Market. I thought I knew some stuff and I did, but WOW! did I have a lot to learn. And I still have tons to learn which is exciting because writing will never be stagnant to me. I will always be moving forward thirsty for more knowledge to improve my craft.
- Birds of a feather flock together. I have made some incredible friendships through writing workshops. My critique group was formed as a direct result of conference attendance. I belong to a successful authors guild which hosts a huge conference every year–LDStorymakers.
- Networking. I have met dozens of authors, agents, editors, publishers, marketing gurus, and teachers through the conferences I have attended. In several instances, my acquaintance with these people has helped to serve me when I needed to make a tough decision regarding publication or even editing/revision. I’ve received incredible advice from so many talented people, even the Newbery Medal winning author, Jerry Spinelli. Yes, I met Jerry and his wife Eileen when I received a scholarship to attend the prestigious Highlights writers conference in Chautauqua, New York.
- Future writing opportunities. Through some of the classes I’ve taken and also through friendships, my eyes have been opened to more opportunities in writing such as newsletters, paid blogging, book reviewing, magazine articles, even this opportunity to blog with AML came because of a friendship I made at a conference.
- Contests & Prizes. Many writing conferences also host contests like “The First Chapter contest” or essay contests. Placing in these contests is wonderful for your writing resume and the prizes and feedback are an added bonus.
- Motivation. When you attend writing conferences, you receive a “shot in the arm” to keep you going. I’ve seen so much success and the fruits of determination in the authors I mingle with. It helps to remind me of what is in store as long as I keep plugging away.
As I said, I could list hundreds of reasons but those are a few which are excellent reasons to get out to a writing conference. There are writing conferences all over the world and I have a list of some that I would like to attend in the future. I’ve listed a few with links to their sites here in Utah. I encourage you to check them out and do what it takes to get to at least one writing conference this year. And say hello if you do–I plan on attending and teaching at most of the following conferences.
What writing conferences have you attended or would you like to attend?
Highlights Conferences–these are my dream conferences.
League of Utah Writers Roundup, September
Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers June, Sandy Utah
Utah Romance Writers of America – October, Park City
The Book Academy – October, UVU