By: K.J. Scrim
No matter where you are in your writing career you should attend at least one writing conference every year. For every writer in the world there are just as many reasons to rub elbows with fellow authors and industry professionals. You may say, “I can learn all this stuff online.” You cannot. Granted there are many aspects of writing you can learn online, but there is so much more to writing beyond what you might be able to glean from asking Google.
Here are just a few:
Learn your craft.
- You have the opportunity to hear from writing professionals who can help take the mystery out of the publishing industry.
- There is a plethora of subjects covered such as, how to find an agent, building your author platform, how to break into publishing, or grammar and style.
- Even though you will find a lot of knowledge about writing online, it doesn’t compare to the in-depth knowledge during in-person or virtual sessions.
- Most conferences have critique breakout sessions where you receive immediate feedback on your work in progress.
- You gain not only writing knowledge, but also learn the business aspects from professionals.
Be around your people.
- You will meet, talk, and listen to industry professionals such as editors and agents along with fellow writers who have walked the same path.
- Sometimes you just need to talk to someone else who really understands the life of a writer.
- Their struggles might be your struggles. This kind of support is invaluable.
- Forge new friendships in the writing community. You aren’t alone in your career.
- It is a non-threatening environment to share your writing with others.
- Reinvigorates your spirit to write your story after talking to so many other great writers.
What about the financial aspect?
- No one should be left out of a conference if they are financially strapped. Many conferences offer full or partial scholarships to help ease any financial burden you may have.
- Conferences do cost money but look at it as an investment in yourself and your future as a writer.
- The person-to-person connections you make are financially invaluable. You may meet the agent of your dreams or find the solution to some aspect of writing you have been wracking your brain over. These serendipitous connections can only be found at a writing conference.
- The facilitators are professionals, just like a professor in any university. Not all education is free. Remember, this is a professional career and if you approach it that way, the conference fees are just a part of it.
Mytchel Chandler, Pikes Peak Writers’ BoD Secretary, said it best, “Conferences are special for writers the same way comic con is for pop culture enthusiasts. It reminds you that you’re part of a community and re-energizes your self-esteem. While a virtual conference doesn’t quite have the sparkle of hallway conversations and bar-con blunderings, it does give you the sense of pride and satisfaction of being present in the moment. Conferences are amazing to attend because of the connections you make and the wealth of knowledge you’re able to glean from those connections.”
Are you ready to find your next writers conference? Here are a few resources to take a look at:
Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2021 – Pikes Peak Writers Conference was founded in 1993 by author Jimmie Butler under the auspices and sponsorship of the Friends of Pikes Peak Library. PPWC2021’s theme is Bet on Yourself. “After a tumultuous 2020, one that stilted creativity and silenced muses, many of us need a fresh start and renewed confidence in our gift to tell our stories. So, in 2021, we at Pikes Peak Writers want you to Bet on Yourself, it’s a sure-fire win!”
Top 25 Writers Conferences for 2021 – This is a great listing of conferences around the country, many of which are virtual, but still valuable!
Writers’ Conferences in North America – This is a very complete list of conferences all over North America.
Kathie Scrimgeour writes under the pseudonym K.J. Scrim. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors with PPW, she is also the Managing Editor of Writing from the Peak (PPW’s blog) and the Project Manager of PPW’s first anthology, Fresh Starts. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. You can follow her on her website, KJScrim.com and on Facebook. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, skiing, or rock climbing.