If you have never attended a writer’s conference, there may be some things that you haven’t given thought to...
Are they worth it? As writers, we sometimes feel we don’t need or want help or we tell ourselves we cannot justify the time off or the money it costs to go to a conference/retreat. We believe we are focused on what we are writing and nothing else matters…then we hit a wall, or a block, or something gets us off track. Once that happens, it can be very difficult to get back on track and moving forward.
If you have never attended a writer’s conference, there may be some things that you haven’t given thought to. Let’s go over a few of these.
How much is rekindling, reigniting, reconnecting, and regrouping with yourself and your goals as a writer worth to you? A retreat offers opportunities for all of these re’s. Are you a serious writer or are you just poking it with a stick and writing when the spirit moves you? That may be the pattern you’ve had but a retreat can help you become a significant writer by taking away excuses and aiding you in making a new commitment to the project you’ve been working on, or hope to work on, but you don’t know how to get started. At a conference/retreat, there are classes and mentors available that will help you learn new skills and improve those you already possess.
Discipline and Breakthroughs
Breakthroughs happen at conferences by helping you clear your mind, refocus on your goals, and develop a true plan for accomplishing that goal. Change can be and usually is for the better, whether it is in your personal world or in your writing world. You will become more intentional in what you are doing. Your questions can be answered through interaction with others who are there specifically to help you become a better writer through personal interaction. You will become more disciplined as a writer, having received a new kick start and a reboot of what is important to you. Your vision for your project will be better defined and stronger than before and you’ll feel renewed and refreshed.
You don’t have to worry about someone at a conference ‘taking your ideas’, that isn’t what they are there for. They, like you, are there to learn, to take part and to grow. Not only will there be mentors but hearing the struggles others have experienced will be encouraging and reinforce the idea that you are not in this alone.
When you are a writer/author, you are essentially a self-employed businessperson. As such it is imperative that you take inventory of what is needed to help you succeed, much like a battlefield commander would with his artillery. Let’s say you’ve gotten a third of the way through your manuscript and you’ve hit a roadblock that has prevented you from moving on. By being in a new setting with new people, you will be able to reflect on your project and decide whether it is going the way you want it to or do you need to back up and/or change directions.
By regrouping, you will gain confidence in yourself and your ability to write from those around you who have been there and done that. You can actually turn off your current world for a few days, concentrate on your project and find new ways to move forward by listening to and talking with others. Writing can be a lonely business but knowing others who’ve walked the same path can be very helpful, encouraging, uplifting, and motivating.
Most writer’s conferences provide quiet times for you to work on your writing project or start a new one. Sometimes just writing a quick short story will get the juices flowing as well as sharpen your skills thus motivating you to pick up where you left off and move forward.
When attending a conference/retreat, it is imperative that you go with the promise to yourself that you are there to learn, and that you commit yourself to moving forward. Be intentional. Know what you need help with, what you want to learn and what you hope to discover. While attending a conference/retreat is a great motivational event for you in itself, it provides you the opportunity to meet new people, make life-long friends and grow in your chosen profession.