Posts Tagged ‘Writing conferences’

Writing Conferences are a Must!

By: K.J. Scrim

Pikes Peak Writers Conference logo - 2021

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.


KJ Scrim, head shot

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. 

Conference is Over – Now What?

The writer’s conference you just attended was AMAZING, but now what do you do? Here are a few tips to make the most of your experience.

After You Get Home

Don't forget to write!
  • Give yourself a day off, at least from writing-related tasks. Your brain will process your experience even if you’re not consciously chasing after it. Unpack, do laundry, get settled.  Go to your day job if you must. But give your brain a rest from conference things, let your mind have a day to process.
  • After a day or two of rest, followup with the contacts you made. You’re recharged, and ready to reach out.
    • Remember how I said to have a system for all those business cards/contact info you collected during the conference?  Here is where that organization pays off. You should have, all in one place, contact information, and notes about how you intended to followup.  Now is the time to send those emails or texts, make anticipated phone calls, or get something in snail mail (yes, some people still do that). You’re a professional, so of course you’re following through in a timely manner.  Well done!
  • You took a lot of notes during Conference, didn’t you? Review all that fantastic information you nearly drowned in just a couple of days ago. Summarize what you’ve learned. Taking the time to do this now will help you retain what matters most. Jot down an action list, a book-buying list, a “must-try-this” list as you go along.
  • Head over to the websites of those you met – read blogs and leave comments.  Write a review. Connect on social media. Stay in touch and nurture the new professional connections you made.
  • Shoot off a few emails, leave comments on websites, engage with those you met. The relationships you build now may have impact on your writing career later.
  • And finally, if you had a good experience, let the organizers know.  Participate in surveys, so they can further improve their event next year. Consider volunteering to help out at future events. Become active in your local writing community.

Most important of all? Don’t forget to write!


Editor’s Note: A huge thank you to everyone who attended PPWC2019! We hope you had as much fun as we did! Please remember to fill out the survey you will receive shortly. Also, please consider volunteering for PPWC2020. It is a wonderful way to give back to the writing community!


Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers Blog

Gabrielle V. Brown, Contributing Editor with Writing From the Peak, writes all manner of fiction and nonfiction. Visit her website, find her on Facebook, and instagram orcontact her at gvbrownwriter@gmail.com