Full time writing is, at its heart, a lonely type of profession. It’s just you, and your laptop, the empty page in front of you waiting to be filled with words and sentences and chapters. There is, of course, the illusion that after writing your first manuscript, or your first draft, your profession will not be so lonely anymore – for, surely, you will get in touch with agents, or editors, and make it big time, and you will have people around you all the time. Maybe it will be so, but the stark reality is that once you’ve sold one book, you need to repeat the same process of lonely writing all over again. However, there are ways, many ways to distil the loneliness of the writing profession, and attending writing conferences is one of them. Below, you will find more benefits from attending conferences, and no, meeting an agent or an editor and pitching your book to them is not one of them.
1. Making genuine connections
One of the best things about writing conferences, no matter which aspect of writing and publishing the conference focuses on, is the opportunity they present for meeting other writers and people who are involved with writing. However, as mentioned above, we are not talking about building a network of contacts while you hold your manuscript in front of you, waiting to give it out to the first agent or editor who speaks to you. Doing that will make you look like a fraud, and it will make the other people who attend the conference avoid starting or getting into a conversation with you. On the other hand, if you leave your manuscript at home, and attend a conference with the intent to make genuine connections, regardless of whether the people you meet are editors, agents or other writers, you will find that the networking part will gradually happen by itself in the months following the conference, because genuine connections last longer, and tend to be more beneficial in the long run.
2. Honing your craft
The people who speak at conferences have knowledge that can be very useful to you, especially if you’re still struggling to write the first draft of your first novel. Attending conferences is a very good way to glean knowledge about many different aspects of writing, from how to find your writing voice, to how to develop a daily writing habit and much more. All you have to do is find the topic that suits you best and attend that panel or lesson during the conference. Additionally, you can participate in workshops which are always focused on improving a writer’s craft, which presents you the opportunity to interact with other writers who might be struggling in the same manner as you.
3. Gaining information about your genre
There are genre-specific conferences which you need to attend in order to be on top of whatever is happening in the genre you’re writing in. Even though you might think that you know, the truth is that by the time you’ve finished your novel, your ideas, which seemed quite new and original and very popular when you started writing your novel, might have become outdated and simply not sell that well anymore. Attending these types of conferences will give you insight into what’s new, what’s old, and what’s universal about your genre, as well as give you plenty of deeper information about the publishing process. You will also find agents and editors who work in your genre, and if you make the right connections and not be overbearing in pitching your work, you might meet your future agent or editor there.
4. Meeting authors you admire
We all have our favorite authors, and there is no better place than a writing conference to meet them. Of course, you can attend special readings if the author conducts a book tour and stops in your hometown, but at a writing conference, you might be able to meet your favorite authors in different, more professional circumstances, which will allow you a glimpse into their writing process, not only in their stories or novels. It is a bonus if your favorite authors have speaking roles, where they will talk about their craft. You might be surprised at how similar or different the writing process is for them compared to yours, and you will definitely leave with tips and tools to use in your future writing.
5. Stepping out of your daily life
Even if writing has not yet become your full time job, and you still need a job on the side to support yourself and/or your family, attending a writing conference is a very good way to step out of your daily life, and still be productive in the writing field. The best way to ensure this is to incorporate everything you’ve learned in your future writing, while enjoying your time at the conference without worrying much about pitching your novel or manuscript to an agent or an editor. Additionally, attending a writing conference will make you feel that much more professional, despite the fact that you still haven’t published a book, because through communication with other unpublished and published writers, you will learn that you, as well as them, all started the same way – by writing and honing your craft.
Image credit: Pixabay[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.