Last year I attended the James River Writers Conference for the first time, and I was excited about going again this year. I won’t make this a long conference review, but I do want to share my thoughts about why it’s important to attend something like a writing conference:
- You realize you’re not alone. Even if you’re part of a local writing group or an online forum, writing is still a solitary venture. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who loves writing like you do, or struggles with fears and doubts.Getting around several hundred other writers can help you realize that you’re not actually weird or crazy – you’re just part of a great group of people!
- You get a lot of information very quickly and efficiently. Writing webinars or local classes are great, but sometimes it’s good to go for the total immersion thing. When your brain is tuned to think about nothing but writing for two or three whole days, it’s amazing what you can absorb, even with your hand cramping from all the note-taking.
- You get to meet writerly people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. Writer’s conferences bring in agents, editors, promoters, and authors of all genres – often from all over the country. If you’re hoping for some one-on-one time with an agent or the chance to pick a famous author’s brain, a conference could provide this opportunity. Or you might just meet your new best friend because a stranger sat next to you in a workshop and you started chatting.
- It’s fun! You get to spend an entire weekend trading plot woes or geeking out about your love for the Oxford comma and nobody thinks you’re strange. It’s a chance to learn, make new friends, and get inspired.
Of course I highly recommend the James River Writers Conference, but there are others across the country at different times. If you can make it to one, even for a day, I think you’ll be glad you did!