Wednesday, April 26, 2017

MY TOP FOUR REASONS TO ATTEND WRITERS CONFERENCES



I'm sooo excited for May 4th! The Oklahoma Writers Federation will hold their annual conference! I look forward to this and other conferences every year. Why? Well, I have four main reasons:

I Always Learn something - I hope none of us ever feel that we have "arrived" as writers. We can always learn something. We can add an interesting skill to our toolbox, polish our prose, and be inspired by new, fresh, ideas. And we can learn from beginning writers as well as veteran writers. 

Networking - This is true for small conferences as well as huge conferences. One of my favorite fall conferences is the Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs, AR. A few years ago David Morrell was the keynote. A friend of mine, Cara Brookins, had written a novel based on her experience as a victim of spousal abuse and how she and her four children escaped and built a house where they would feel safe again. One evening Cara told David about her novel and he suggested she send it to his agent. The agent liked the novel but asked that Cara write it as a memoir instead. Although Cara was reluctant, after awhile she decided to rewrite her story as the agent suggested. When she sent it back to the agent, she was immediately signed. The agent pitched Cara's book to the big houses in NYC. Three, THREE, of them wanted it and the book went to auction. All offered six-figure advances! Today Cara is busy doing interviews and speaking all over the country about her book, RISE. In fact, she will be speaking at the OWFI conference this year.


Now I know this is a rare happening, but all the same, it did happen! Therefore, it can and probably will happen again. Maybe it will happen for you?

Opportunities - At conferences we meet people who belong to writing groups. When I began speaking almost all of my engagements came from people I spoke with at a conference. Speaking is a fantastic way to build your platform and get the word out about your writing. You may be asked to be a guest on someone's blog or asked to write articles for magazines. There are many writing & speaking opportunities all under one roof!

Friends - I love being with several hundred people who "get" me. Some of my closest friendships were forged through writing. We can talk "writerly speak" all we want without people rolling their eyes and checking their watches. At conferences we all have the same passion, the same drive. In fact, most attendees stay up into the wee hours of the morning. Personally, at home I begin to nod off at 9. But at conferences, heck, I may stay up until 11:30!


So, start saving your money and invest in yourself this year by going to a conference. If you can make it to OWFI, I'd love to meet you!


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