Hidden Value of a Writer’s Conference
– by Jeanetta Chrystie
|Recently a writer
asked me, “Why should I attend a writer’s
conference?” Several potential responses raced through my thoughts
as I replied, “They offer many opportunities you wouldn’t
have otherwise.” As we continued discussing the idea, I began
cataloguing specific reasons for future use in responding to similar
Obviously, attending a writer’s conference is an investment
of your time, money and energy. Scheduling around work and family
commitments may create some stress. You may already have more
writing ideas than ten people could write in a lifetime. So why
businesses are relational. The writing business is no
exception. Many assignments are invented during a writer’s
conference. You will find new markets for your writing.
You meet editors, who may look over your writing clips and listen
to ideas aimed at their publications. I did this at a writer’s
conference when I met editor Lin Johnson. Since we met, I’ve
written almost 30 articles for Church Libraries magazine and 2
for Advanced Christian Writer.
You hear about upcoming topics for magazines, and immediately formulate
ideas to fit into that issue. I did this at another writer’s
conference when I heard that Christian History magazine was looking
for writers for their Dante issue. I pitched three ideas for matching
articles and they bought one, my article “The Pilgrim Way.”
Your reputation, developed during the conference, finds its way
from editor to editor. My throat-cancer survivor story circulated
and I sold “When Your Friend Is Grieving” to Discipleship
You meet like-minded writing friends who introduce you to an editor
over lunch, where you listen to the editor talk about needs. I
did this, met Jesse Florea, and he later published my article “Into
the Wind” in Clubhouse magazine. Plus, these writing friends
can be a source of encouragement and inspiration to help keep you
writing and submitting.
You meet agents, publishing house representatives, and well-known
authors with ideas and advice. I could go on and on with more examples,
but you have the idea.
learning benefits. Writer’s conferences typically
bring in keynote speakers, publishers, editors, and other authors
to encourage and instruct you. Whether you choose a workshop about
marketing poetry or a continuing series about writing a book proposal,
you will learn a LOT in a short time! You can learn about different
genre, participate in writing contests, listen to writing critiques,
discover new markets, and improve your professionalism.
will be inspired. Writers, and want-to-be-writers, can
become sidetracked by life’s busy pace and multiple “to do” lists.
Attending a writer’s conference focuses you on your writing
goals, energizes you to write, and inspires many ideas through
interactions at the conference.
- You’ll return home armed with tools. I always bring home
many pages of notes, a folder full of writer’s guidelines
and workshop handouts, business cards of editors and other writers,
a sack full of sample magazines, and instructional books and CDs
to improve and expand my writing.
- It’s often tax deductible. Are you tracking your writing
sales, submission, and expenses to claim on your income tax forms?
Like our group’s membership dues, writer’s conference
expenses are likely tax deductible for you too. If in doubt, consult
http://totallyhonesttaxtipsforwriters.blogspot.com/ or ask your
Are you convinced yet? If so, check out the writer’s conferences
listed in this newsletter; or search for others at http://writing.shawguides.com/ by date or location. So I ask you, is the value of attending a
writer’s conference really hidden? Only until you attend
one – then you’ll know!
Dr. Jeanetta R. Chrystie has sold over 500 articles, newspaper
columns, and devotions. She has authored two college textbooks
and 5 poetry chapbooks in more than 20 years of part-time writing.
She teaches online Business Administration classes for SMSU (that’s
Southwest Minnesota State University); and runs 2 web sites: Teaching
(www.SouthwestMSU.edu/FacultyStaff/JeanettaChrystie) plus Writing & Speaking