Are you feeling isolated? A wee bit lonely? Sort of stuck, wondering what your next step should be? The answer may be a conference. No matter what dream you’re chasing—whether it’s novelist, crafter, small business owner, screenplay writer, entrepreneur, artist, musician, blogger—there is almost certainly a conference, convention or gathering designed around it.
You need to go.
Yes, I know it may be expensive. It may require travel. It will take you away from your home and family and regularly-scheduled life for a couple of days.
The benefits far outweigh any of the negatives. Here’s why.
At a conference, you get to meet others chasing the same dream. I just got back from the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. It was my first time there and I wanted to slap my forehead, wondering why I hadn’t gone before. I’ve known dozens of these folks online, but nothing beats face-to-face interaction with others asking the same questions and facing the same unique challenges.
Let’s face it, most of us work alone and that can get pretty lonesome. Here’s a chance to make new friends, trade tips and strategies and develop a circle to keep you connected.
I also got to meet many of my fellow Abingdon Press Fiction authors for the first time. What fun to hang out and get to know them. It made me feel like part of the team.
Today, marketing is about relationships and relationships are about, well, people. Nothing beats a personal connection to start building those networks.
For a writer, the best way to meet and gain access to editors and agents is at a conference. Panels and spotlights are especially helpful in getting a glimpse into the respective agents’ and editors’ personalities, mindsets and the types of projects they are looking for.
The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. Conferences are a great way to get educated. I took wonderful classes on everything from honing my craft to marketing. The professionals teaching the workshops were so willing to offer help, encouragement and advice to everyone in attendance.
The most valuable workshop I attended had nothing to do with writing, but with me, the writer. Conferences fill the creative well and help you recharge your batteries. I came home exhausted but refreshed, renewed and ready to dive back into my next project.
My advice? Find a conference in your field and go. You’ll be so glad you did.
Have you attended a great conference? I’d love to hear about it.
And if we’re not Facebook friends yet, I’d love to connect with you that way. Just send me a friend request.