Monday, April 15, 2013

The Writing Conference Trifecta

By Rich

As this comes to press, the 2013 Northern Colorado Writers Conference is a mere 12 days away. At this very moment workshops are being prepared, manuscripts are being completed, keynote speaker Andrew McCarthy is getting ready for swooning crowds of  travel writing and Weekend at Bernie’s fans, and NCW director Kerrie Flanagan is in the midst of a nervous breakdown. In the end, when the workshop rooms are cleared, manuscripts are pitched, Andrew autographed out, and Kerrie collapsed in a heap of heaving sobs, those who attended the conference will be grateful. Why? For one reason - they came away with something new and interesting. To put the greenbacks where my pie hole is, here are three reasons why you should attend this or any other writing conference.

You’ll Learn Something
Regardless if you know everything about writing, there will be one point in a workshop where your head pops up from reading tweets on your smartphone and you realize the instructor said something about the craft you never realized in the past. By applying what was learned at the workshop, you will be shocked at how improved your writing gets. I personally learned this at the my first NCW Conference when a workshop instructor taught us about empty adverbs and words like ‘that’. My writing became much tighter not long after the conference ended.

You’ll Connect with Peers
You may know them from their books, blogs, or articles, but never personally met the writers you follow. In some cases, these folks end up attending the same conference workshops with you. When you realize they have the same questions and ambitions as you do, a friendship can develop, leading to potential writing opportunities – both as an individual and with the favorite writer who is now your best friend.

You’ll Kick-Start Your Writing
Before I attended my first conference I was a writer of television reviews and essays and very little else. While I wanted to develop many of the stories I started in the past, the motivation wasn't there. Something clicked in me after I attended my first writing conference - I wanted to be not just a writer, but an author. A few months later, I joined my first critique group, leading to completion of two manuscripts. I pitched one of them to an agent at my second conference, eventually leading to a request to see the entire work.

Needless to say, attending a writing conference changed my life. I hope it does the same for you.

What reasons can you give to attend a writers conference?

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I attend for all the reasons you mentioned -- especially the head-raising insights. I find that the workshops produce the most creative stimulation for me -- I pour over the handouts and my notes for weeks after the conference. Also, the slush pile workshop has always produced some aha moments for me. Can't wait!

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