What are you doing this weekend? I’m going to the fall conference put on by the Missouri Region of SCBWI. Attending conferences is one of the best things that you can do for your writing career and this is why.
Meet like minded individuals. Conferences, workshops and retreats are a great way to meet your fellow writers. Even if you’re a true blue introvert (waving my membership card), you need to get out among your people. Why? Because you need to know you aren’t alone. We writers are a quirky breed and, as much as our loved ones try to support us, they don’t always get it. So, you got a rejection. Get it back out there. Just be more efficient and don’t do so many rewrites. You need to interact with other people who get it. You need their support.
Opportunities to advance your career. Writing events also offer you a great opportunity to advance your career. Most people read this and think, “I will meet the agent/editor/publisher of my dreams.” Maybe. It probably happens. But, while you are interacting with like minded individuals, keep your ears open. Someone may very well comment that their editor is looking for a writer who can X. Or they may e-mail you after the conference and ask if you’d like to work with their editor. I know this happens because it has happened to me.
To see what is new. Last but not least, conferences and the like offer you an opportunity to find out about the latest ins and outs of your chosen profession. When I started writing, you singly submitted and patiently waited. Now, unless a publisher requires an exclusive, it is more or less expected that you will submit to more than one place at a time.
There’s no doubt about it. Writing events take time. They take money. But it is well worth both when you make the connections that you need to be a strong, healthy, productive writer.