Writing Conferences Are Getting a Makeover
In January 2020, quite a few weekends were blocked out on my calendar for writing conferences. During February, one-by-one, each conference was put on hold or cancelled. I was terribly disappointed. And, I had used a pen to mark my conference itinerary on my calendar.
The Lesson Learned? Remember to use a pencil.
As a contemporary romance writer, I have always believed in the strength that comes from writing a story with a good Happily Ever After. So, I turned my conference dismay into action by writing every day. On some days it was truly hard to concentrate, but my belief in the fact that we will get through this stressful time circled me back to the important stuff…keep writing stories.
So, I waited and remembered. There is so much information to be gained at a writers’ conference. Hobnobbing with other writers is close to nirvana for me. Be patient. Your pitch is ready. The story is finished. Will the agents still be there? Onward.
For any writer, an annual conference is a gathering of writer-like-minds. It’s where writers find their comfort zone by sharing with other—grammar geeks, book junkies, story-structure debaters: plotters versus pantsers, or lovers of sentence diagrams. We compare stories. The publishing world can be brutal, so it’s nice to meet others for support and motivation.
Writers can’t succeed in a vacuum, so conferences are a necessity. We need to explore new places for creativity and talk to other writers for inspiration. It’s hard, almost tortuous at times, to write. Alone at your computer for hours can make a writer wonder if THE END is actually coming and even if it is, is it worth it? After all the hours, days and weeks spent on a story, writers need to talk to other writers to gain some perspective and to know that they are not really alone.
That’s when a writing conference becomes imperative for a writer’s well-being. Even if you’re on the same path as James Patterson or Nora Roberts, conferences continue to offer loads of fantastic information and good vibes for writers at any stage in their career.
The Wait is Finally Over…
The conference scene has started to evolve to accommodate the pandemic. Most organizations have rescheduled their conferences into a virtual format. So now what?
True, we just saved beaucoup bucks on travel, hotel, and food expenses. Not to mention the last-minute wardrobe purchases. But even if you’ve navigated an in-person conference somewhat successfully (lost luggage, anyone?), how do we work the “virtual” room?
There are definite plusses to a virtual conference: casual dress if not pajamas, yes or no to make-up, and bathroom lines don’t exist. Yet, it’s still best to plan ahead because of the hefty amount of information doled out at any writers’ conference: virtual or in-person.
Even by attending on-line workshops, writers can walk away from the screen, go into the kitchen, and still feel overwhelmed. As if a fire hose has just been turned on in their mouth…which happens often at in-person conferences.
To get the most from a virtual writing conference (and someday, in-person) let me help you plan and organize if you’re in the role of participant, presenter, or coordinator. I have first-hand knowledge from planning a successful writing conference. Having traveled to a multitude of writing conferences, I’ve gained critical info at each one that has helped me in my writing journey. If you’re a participant, I can give you tips so that by the end of the conference you’re inspired and motivated to implement all your newfound writing knowledge. If you’re a planner, I can give you some guidance and share my hard-learned lessons on organizing a successful conference.
Every week I’ll be here, blogging and sharing what’s happening at writing conferences in 2020.
Tip #1: Remember that conferences are critical for every author’s career.
Oh, and please jot your notes down with a pencil.