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Wednesday Already? Conference Time!

Huh. Snuck up on me. Ever feel like that? Don’t know what day it is?

Been happening a lot for me lately. Don’t know whether it’s my sinuses from the blooming trees, the tough revisions I’ve been avoiding, or the fact I’ve got too much on my plate, but my mind is foggy.

And this Wednesday finds me very busy preparing for the upcoming NOLA conference this weekend. I’m truly happy to be seeing my blogmates – Keri and Jamie- this weekend. Keri and I are roomies and we always have the best time together. And sweet Jamie is so quiet with the prettiest smile you’ve ever seen. So, yeah, looking forward to it.

But the best thing about a writer’s conference is not catching up with old friends (or in my case young friends), it’s the opportunity it gives a writer to grow in the industry. I know. You’re thinking editors and agents. Well, yeah. But not just them. As a published author, a conference gives me several things to help push my career to a new level. Check out my top opportunities:

1. The craft – attending those workshops gives me an edge. Even if it’s a topic I feel comfortable with, a brush up always helps.  And hearing the same topic from a different writer gives new direction. Keri and I are both presenting this time. She’s doing characters and I’m doing emotion.  So in merely preparing for the workshop, it’s given me some reminders about what needs to go in my own manuscript. Improving craft should always be a writers focus at a conference.

2. Networking – beyond the obvious networking with editors and agents, networking helps me to meet new writers who I can help or who can help me. That’s what it boils down to, right? Networking has a purpose. You know me. I know you. What can we do with that knowledge? Hang out and have coffee? Cool. Read each other’s first chapters? Very cool. Blog on each other’s blogs. Super cool. You’ll give me a cover quote? Yahoo! So networking with other authors and industry professionals can really bring unexpected benefits.

3. Immersion in your Profession – This seems a given. You’re at a writers’ conference. You are with your people. And this gives unexpected benefit…writer mode. Suddenly, you’re not alone at your computer. You’re with people who know the business, eat, breath and live the business, and are determined to succeed in the business. This will rub off on you. You want to be them. You want to be published. Go for drinks with an editor. Commiserate about the market, bad reviews and art fact sheets.

4. Time away from other pressures – This one is a big one for me. My life as a mother, wife, part-time bookkeeper, full-time taxi service is way stressful. I live in the town of the conference, but I still pack my bag, get a room and stay at the conference hotel. I need it. I need to hang out, have a glass of wine, laugh at funny pitch stories, and eat too much. Yep. It’s an excuse for a little me time.

Okay, that’s my top four reasons for attending conferences. I know you have more. So if you’re a writer, why do you go? If you don’t write, still share your conference, workshop, or, heck, vacation tips.

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6 Responses

  1. I need to do more workshops. I find myself socializing too much!

  2. I used to go to every workshop I could possible get in to and I do still attend workshops, just not as many as before. My local chapter brings in great speakers and we’ve got some wonderful published authors who do workshops on craft.

    I love the networking part of conference. I’ve met so many people who’ve become friends. Authors, agents, and editors alike. And these are friends that I’m not trying to pitch, just hanging out and having a great time with.

    Although I’m really sad to be missing RWA this year. Calendar conflicts won’t make iti possible. 😦

  3. I am looking forward to showing up for the book signing! I LOVE any excuse to get away and pretend I am on vacation 🙂

    It is so fun and rewarding to talk to others in your field! Nice when others know EXACTLY what “you mean”, ya know what I mean??

  4. Tafta- I know what you mean. It is nice to belong to a group of folks who understand the lingo…and humor. And I’m looking forward to you coming to the booksigning too.

    Cyndi – Hard to want to go to workshops when there is so much fun to be had at the bar. LOL.

    Vicki – Sorry you won’t make Nationals this year. I’m looking forward to it since I’ve never been to NYC. But sometimes it just doesn’t work.

  5. I enjoyed Nola so much last year and I’m so bummed I can’t make it this year! You ladies really know how to put on a GREAT conference. 🙂 I go for the opportunities and workshops. Getting to see friends I only chat with online and make new ones is the icing on the cake!

  6. Liz, that was so sweet of you to say that. 🙂 You are an amazing and beautiful person to be around too. I love your personality. You’re very spirited, and I enjoy being around those type of people. 🙂 The conference has REALLY snuck up on me too! I can’t believe it starts tomorrow. 😀 I’m so excited!

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