This weekend I attended Gateway to Publishing Conference and Convention. There were writing seminars, pitch sessions, master classes, and even a free reader track that included free reader panels and an author hall where readers could buy books and meet authors. It has been several years since I’ve been able to attend a writers conference and I’d forgotten how rejuvenating they can be.
While I’ve hit a point in my writing career where I know a lot of the basics, there is always something new to learn. And at writer’s conferences there’s never a shortage of knowledge from other writers, authors, editors, and agents in attendance. I always find it interesting to hear about other writer’s techniques and learn more about the industry from the pros. Not to mention share things I’ve learned with other writers as well.
Which brings me to….
Conferences are a great place to meet new people, both people who write in your genre and not. I’m always intrigued by what other people are writing, and also happy to find other people who write in the same areas I do. Everyone there has the potential help me learn more about other genres, and new writing techniques, and those within my genre have the potential to make great new critique partners. It’s a win-win all around.
Being able to interact with agents and editors is always great as well. I love getting to know who they are as people, what they like to read, and what they are working on. This always gives me a better sense of who might be good to query and gives me a little more insight into how the market is reacting currently. Plus agents and editors are really cool people. I know they feel untouchable when you see them online sometimes, but every industry pro I’ve met has been fantastic and always willing to offer advice (in the right setting, please don’t corner them in the bathroom).
There’s something about just being around a ton of excited writers that sucks you back in. I’ve been very up and down with my writing career in the last year or two, downright struggling at times to make things happen because life has been crazy. But being in a room full of energized writers makes me feel like a superhero with a pen. It makes me want to jump in head first and continue to move forward. When they hear about the things I write and get excited about it, I’m suddenly back in the game.
I know sometimes writing can feel like a scary rollercoaster of emotions sometimes, but if you can get yourself to a conference or even a small seminar or writing workshop DO IT! You really have nothing to lose. It’s an awesome way to learn, meet new people, and refresh your writing spirit. And if you’re looking for a great conference to attend, I highly recommend Gateway Con. It’ll be back in 2018 in June.