Guest Blog Post by Megan Burkhart, Intern
If you’re a writer, you know how hard it is to make a living off your words alone. There’s a reason people use the phrase, “starving artist.” But, there are ways to take your writing from a side hobby to a full-time career.
One of the best ways to do this is by attending a writing conference. You know, one of those events where bookish people get together and talk about writing all day long! Why wouldn’t you want to go?
Before you let your hesitations or introvert fears hold you back, let me tell you three reasons why conference attendance is not just good for you, but really good for your writing career.
- Never Stop Learning
Writing conferences are an opportunity to learn. You may be long done with school, but you should always be a student of your craft. Speakers at conferences are pros in the industry and have so much knowledge and experience to share. Writing conferences provide multiple sessions at the same time on topics ranging from marketing and platform to writing believable characters to how to make your best pitch. Conferences allow you to tailor your experience to fit your writing needs and focus on the areas you feel you need the most growth.
- Enter Contests
Most conferences host a contest, whether for unpublished or published material, that you can enter prior to arriving at the conference, and awards are awarded before the end of the conference for categories such as best debut or best cover as well as genre awards, like historical fiction or picture book. This gives you the opportunity to enter your best work, and whether you are a nominee or a winner, agents and editors take note and it could lead to a publishing contract, a new partnership, a speaking invitation, or more. Win or lose, this is an opportunity to showcase your abilities and your manuscript.
- Network, Network, Network!
At a conference, you have the privilege of being surrounded by agents and editors who are seeking new material. This is your chance to beat the slush pile and pitch to someone one-on-one. Conferences offer their attendees the opportunity to set up appointments, critique sessions, or lunch meetings with as many industry professionals as you can. Your projects won’t be a perfect fit for everyone, but this is an opportunity to make an impression and establish your name.
While summer offers a multitude of conferences to check out, there are a few large ones that we suggest trying to attend this fall.
- Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference, August 20-23
- North Carolina Christian Writers Conference, September 6-8
- Association of Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), September 20-23
- Write 2 Ignite, September 21-22
- Maranatha Christian Writers Conference, September 27-29
- Ohio Christian Writers Conference, November 1-3
Writing can be your career, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Conferences are one investment that can offer you valuable opportunities to move your career forward when you approach them with the right mindset.
What if you fall? Well, dear writer, what if you fly?